A Mountainous Journey: A Poet's Autobiography

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9781555971380: A Mountainous Journey: A Poet's Autobiography
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Book by Fadwa Tuqan

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Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Arabic

Review:

To read this melodious autobiography, you may need three bookmarks: one to keep your place, one for the notes listed in the back, and one to read the author's poetry as she refers to it. From these pages a compassionate, opinionated Palestinian woman emerges. Fadwa Tuqan was born in 1917; her mother couldn't remember the date this daughter was born, only what she cooked that day. When Fadwa is an adolescent, a young man passes her a sprig of jasmine, and she recalls her first feelings of love as "...borne on a jasmine flower redolent with scent that fastened itself to the walls of my heart." When she is restricted to her home because of her interaction with the young man, her small world collapses. Her brother, however, teaches her poetry; with his encouragement and guidance she becomes one of the Arab world's most distinguished poets. When Palestine falls in 1948 "Arab society was shaken, politically, socially and culturally" and Fadwa Tuqan's world grows: now she is able to meet in coffeehouses with friends, both female and male, to travel, and to write poetry that reflects her budding political awareness. But by 1967 she recognizes: "The reality we were living every moment of our lives was one of sheer pain and misery." Since then she has written little poetry and has devoted her time to Palestinian causes. Fadwa Tuqan emerged from her life of dictated attire and seclusion to become a politically active feminist. With her autobiography she allows the reader to accompany her on her fascinating and difficult journey. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith

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