Zuhur, an Omani student at a British university, is caught between the past and the present. As she attempts to form friendships and assimilate in Britain, she can’t help but ruminate on the relationships that have been central to her life. Most prominent is her strong emotional bond with Bint Amir, a woman she always thought of as her grandmother, who passed away just after Zuhur left the Arabian Peninsula. As the historical narrative of Bint Amir’s challenged circumstances unfurls in captivating fragments, so too does Zuhur’s isolated and unfulfilled present, one narrative segueing into another as time slips, and dreams mingle with memories.
The eagerly awaited new novel by the winner of the Man Booker International Prize, Bitter Orange Tree is a profound exploration of social status, wealth, desire, and female agency. It presents a mosaic portrait of one young woman’s attempt to understand the roots she has grown from, and to envisage an adulthood in which her own power and happiness might find the freedom necessary to bear fruit and flourish.
Jokha Alharthi is the author of ten works, including three collections of short fiction, two children’s books, and three novels in Arabic. Fluent in English, she completed a PhD in Classical Arabic Poetry in Edinburgh, and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. Celestial Bodies was shortlisted for the Sahikh Zayed Award for Young Writers and her 2016 novel Narinjah won the Sultan Qaboos Award for culture, art and literature. Her short stories have been published in English, German, Italian, Korean and Serbian.
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