Apple of Sodom: An American Woman's Journey in Jordan

 
9781938144288: Apple of Sodom: An American Woman's Journey in Jordan

Emily Crawford, a young American wife and mother, seeks a long-overdue self-respect in this absorbing and dramatic portrait of an expatriate family experiČencing life in an exotic Arab culture at the start of the 1960s. Revelatory episodes unfold against the entertainments of the well-to-do and influential, among the lives of ordinary citizens, and during explorations of ancient cities in the Holy Land and beyond.

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About the Author:

World traveler Mary Hoffman, who makes her home in central Ohio, is a liberal arts graduate of Ohio State University, the institution she served for many years as program director and on-air presence for WOSU-FM, known then as ''Classical 89.7.'' She also enjoyed ten years of freelance concert reviewing and occasional travel writing for the Columbus Dispatch.

Review:

Mary Hoffman's Apple of Sodom artfully and sensitively captures the essence of the modern woman. I initially think I'm reading a contemporary version of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. I quickly realize there are more layers to this story. Emily and her three young children relocate to Jordan to live with Philip, their husband and father. While there, they undergo a series of events that threaten to break them apart. As the novel develops, Emily and Philip's marriage is under duress. Unlike Edna Pontellier in The Awakening, whose only resolve is to commit suicide rather than stay in a loveless marriage, Emily is not willing to die--to her needs, her wants, her desire. Hoffman brilliantly keeps readers on their toes in a way that is pleasing, terrifying, and surprising. Apple of Sodom truly is a journey of an American woman in a foreign land where Emily, no longer a caged bird, finds the strength to soar. --Adele N. Nichols

Mary Hoffman's Apple of Sodom grows temptation, ardor, and doubt, cultivated in poetic yet realistic descriptions of time and place. Woven in unpredictable small stories within the larger story of an unsettled marriage, dark tones shadow bright days, and a nervous hope for the female protagonist's future keeps us biting our nails until the end. Hoffman grabs our hearts as she reveals the fragility of an American family living in Jordan in the 1960's. Without sacrificing historical accuracy, she welcomes us into the mind of Emily and through the dirt roads of Amman; the walk is enchanting, the shadows, haunting. Hats off to Hoffman and her ambitious creation--a true gem shimmering above the sand. --Andrea Ruggeri

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