Teta, Mother, and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women

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9780393329650: Teta, Mother, and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women

Rich in warmth and insight, a personal and cultural history of three generations of Arab women.

In this "beautifully written memoir" (Publishers Weekly), Jean Said Makdisi illuminates a century of Arab life and history through the stories of her mother, Hilda Musa Said, and her Teta, "Granny" Munira Badr Musa. Against the backdrop of the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the rise of Arab nationalism, the founding of Israel, the Suez crisis, the Arab-Israeli wars, and civil war in Beirut, she reveals the extraordinary courage of these ordinary women, while rethinking the notions of "traditional" and "modern," "East" and "West." With a loving eye, acute intelligence, and elegant, impassioned prose, Makdisi has written "much more than a memoir," rather "an embrace of history and culture" (Cleveland Plain Dealer). 16 pages

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About the Author:

Jean Said Makdisi was born in Jerusalem and studied in Cairo and the United States. She is the author of Beirut Fragments: A War Memoir, a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in Beirut.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. In this beautifully written memoir, Makdisi (author of Beirut Fragments; sister of the late Edward Said) explores the lives of three generations of Palestinian women, deftly illuminating a tumultuous century of modern Middle Eastern history, while raising important questions about the efficacy of ideology, the process of social development and the role of memory. Opening with the author's birth during WWII—"my birth occurred at a particularly unromantic time: the anxiety of the war and the events in Palestine and Egypt weighed heavily on my parents"—the volume grows ever more engaging as Makdisi moves into the distant past of her grandmother Munira Badr Musa (or Teta) and her mother, Hilda Musa Said. Makdisi moves easily between dispassionate historical report and deeply felt emotion, mining first-person accounts where available and offering extensive research to fill in the gaps. Touching on one calamitous event after the other, from the devastating post-WWI famine in the Levant through the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and up to the Lebanese civil war—and explaining how the lives of women shaped and were shaped by each—Makdisi demonstrates how discussions of tradition and modernity generally miss the mark. "The word tradition is used," she says, "much more than it is explained," and women's specific histories, as they were actually lived generation by generation, are rarely taken into account. Valuable in its insights, sophisticated in its execution, this book deserves to be widely read. (Apr.)
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Book Description WW Norton Co, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this beautifully written memoir (Publishers Weekly), Jean Said Makdisi illuminates a century of Arab life and history through the stories of her mother, Hilda Musa Said, and her Teta, Granny Munira Badr Musa. Against the backdrop of the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the rise of Arab nationalism, the founding of Israel, the Suez crisis, the Arab-Israeli wars, and civil war in Beirut, she reveals the extraordinary courage of these ordinary women, while rethinking the notions of traditional and modern, East and West. With a loving eye, acute intelligence, and elegant, impassioned prose, Makdisi has written much more than a memoir, rather an embrace of history and culture (Cleveland Plain Dealer). Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780393329650

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