Wednesday, September 9, 2020

#BookReview: Against the Loveless World - Susan Abulhawa


3.5/5 Book Emojis!

Format Used: 


Pages - 366

Available at your nearest independent bookstore!

*Note: The views below are unbiased and solely my own. A copy of the book was provided by the publisher Bloomsbury India for an honest review.


"The Cube is thus devoid of time. It contains, instead, a yawning stretch of something unnamed, without present, future, or past, which I fill with imagined or remembered life.

Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa is a literary fiction novel about a girl named Nahr who tells her story of a search for love, family, justice and freedom, from inside a prison cell called- The Cube. Written in 7 parts, most of which are encompassed literally toward the directions in the cube, she paints an extremely vivid picture of her life before, during and after the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Susan gives one of the rawest and the most powerful voices I've seen in a first-person narrative fiction, to the protagonist. The unfiltered diction and strength in Nahr's story speaks volumes that echo within the dooming walls of the cube, as well as the reader's mind. 

While I read the book, I got in touch with my friends who understood the cultural references in the book well. Not only did the author stick politically uncensored, but was culturally authentic to every detail surrounding the lead's life. Every single character and every little side-story had a soul of its own, making this book full of life and yet gripping with sharp edges. It had humour, pain, reality and most importantly, strength. Set in decades from the 70s till the early 00's, the writing is timeless and forever relevant. Anyone who reads it will know the reality and horrors reeking from every word of this story- of what it means to be a refugee, to have your life tossed around in the hands of war-thirsty militants and to find your voice among the deafening bombings by western capitalists. What the essence of the book stood out to be for me, was how fearlessness is a privilege that costs a lot more than what women in the Middle East are given credit for. For the West to cause so much destruction, spanning generations of these innocent lives, and for them to try to fight back, only to be labelled with Islamophobia as terrorists, is something that I feel the world should be educated about, with this book. 

My less-than-perfect rating for this brilliant story is for a conflict between a story of this magnitude and strength, to writing that evokes impermanent thought and inconsistent vigour. The first dozen of pages are gripping but lose their magnetic flow with the reader for the next hundred pages. The ending of the book is interesting, though not immaculate as it could've been, with some direction and structure. The protagonist ages, but her voice fails to evolve- to the point that the narration get monotonous. The other characters of the book, on the other hand, not only evolve as people, but their stories unfold with brilliant plot devices. 

Conclusion: I really enjoyed this read and definitely not as a piece of entertainment. This was power summing up three hundred sixty six pages with raw edge and sheer truth. I recommend it to everyone who doesn't bother with trigger warnings of rape, sexual assault, graphic imagery and violence, and wishes to take a story of a lifetime away with themself. 

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