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Sitt Marie-Rose

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  326 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Sitt Marie Rose, a Christian Lebanese woman, is the beloved teacher of deaf-mute children during the civil war. Her only mistake? She has a deep sympathy and connection to the Palestinian refugees inside of Lebanon. Seen as a traitor to the Christian cause, she is kidnapped and brutally executed in front of her own students. Sitt Marie Rose is an experimental novel about t ...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published 1988 by Suhrkamp Verlag (first published 1977)
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Aug 09, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(I read the book, not the ebook, but that edition is not available to post.) Beautifully written and wrenching novel based on the true story of a woman in Beirut during the Civil War who ran a school for deaf children. She was kidnapped at a checkpoint, interrogated and killed because of her work with Palestinian refugees and her commitment to social, rather than tribal, justice.
Sarah Harakeh
May 08, 2015 Sarah Harakeh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt shocked after reading the first few pages because of the amount of racism displayed. But then after reading more pages, I figured how the style of the book works and understood that it is not actually racist. It is just too much realistic, especially for a Lebanese, to accept it when we are trying to forget a cruel difficult part of our history. The book tells a true story that happened in the civil war, and unfortunately the cruel unbelievable events and racism in the book actually happe ...more
Apr 18, 2015 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written take on the senseless, chaotic and incredibly violent war in Lebanon. What surprised me was the author's ability to to make such a complex piece of history read so simply. The similarities between this story and Syria's current conflict are a terrible reminder of why this book matters.
Amira Hanafi
Shifting, multiple points of view give different perspectives on war in lebanon, late 1970s, all distinctly colored by adnan's fierce anger at religious justifications for brutal violence.
Sep 30, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful anti-war book by a Lebanese writer. If I were putting together a war literature class, I would include this on my syllabus for sure.
Jean Grant
Oct 26, 2012 Jean Grant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this novel about five years ago and still remember how visceral the experience was. Etel Adnan is a brilliant writer.
Gabriella Anton
Dec 12, 2009 Gabriella Anton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"My eyes are like plants that open during the day and close at night. I begin to wish that two rockets would pass through my head leaving me intact... that's what it means. Everything becomes primitive."

"But me, I say to them, I am absolute order. I am absolute power. I am absolute efficiency. I've reduced all truths to a formula of life and death."

"And how not to get as a whiplash the memory of that one day, when shaking hands to say goodbye, our hands stuck together, sending a current of hot b
Jan 30, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Possibly one of the most powerful, passionate works of fiction I have ever read. Adnan's Sitt Marie Rose is both an attack and an interrogation of her own history, her own identity, just as much as it is an attack on the tribal and religious justifications for the violence and terror of the civil war in Lebanon. She rails against an Islam that forgets "the divine mercy affirmed by the first verse of the Koran... human mercy" and a Christianity in Lebanon that's "not in communion with any force o ...more
Jun 16, 2017 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set during the Lebanese Civil War, the story tells of a woman who abducted and killed. Each chapter changes narrators, often without informing you who is speaking, and comes across as stream-of-thought style with the events around them. I found this chaotic style exemplified the chaotic nature of the world around the characters.
Jun 05, 2012 Longfeng rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Martin Luther infamously said that he wished the Book of Esther be tossed into the murkiest depths of the Elbe and hoped that light should never shine upon it, a sentiment that, if applied to this book, I would agree wholeheartedly. This novel, if it can be called that, is, without doubt, one of the most vile piece of writing to ever be wrought by any hands, and no amount of fire, not even the eternal furnance of hell, would suffice to rid the world of the evils of this book. I can hardly read a ...more
Lebanese Civil War.

This is a really hard book to review without falling into one or other camp of the war.
Personally I have heard a lot about the Israeli / Palestinian conflict, but the part played by Lebanon, who hosted great influxes of refugees, has been less widely publicised. While many issues had been burning below the surface, this sudden onslaught, no doubt had its part to play in the subsequent civil war of Lebanon.

This little book, only 105 pages, is written by a woman, now 87 yrs old,
Alika Yarnell
Sep 13, 2007 Alika Yarnell added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People that like experimental, didactic fiction involving war
Shelves: fiction
This book started off so nonchalant--well, maybe that's not the word, but it was definitely more of a straight-forward narrative but then it started getting really intense. And I don't mean the depictions of the war, after that part, when we get a lot of Sitt Marie-Rose's POV, or her dialog or thoughts. Beyond the actual people and their principles, deep at the heart of the matter. I like the line on p100 "The patient should be obliged to spit out, not the mucous, but the original illness, not t ...more
Oct 29, 2014 Lamia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book -- once I figured out the structure. Adnan divides each chapter up into a different voice in Part II of this book. Although this was easy to figure out, some voices I could not figure out until I looked them up. Once I did know, however, this book became hauntingly beautiful. It is not a happy ending book -- it is groundingly realistic and instills a feeling in you that lasts long after the last page.

I would recommend this book to anyone for a quick read. Although cle
Jan 01, 2014 Yas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author deconstructs the psychology of violence of the Lebanese in the civil war in this story.
I found it to be most true and realistic. The deaf-mutes handicapped children are the people of Lebanon who are doing nothing to the stop the cycle of madness...the "shabab" are victims and executioners in the sheep-herd mentality that cannot salvage anyone except those who choose to follow their conscious and cut the biblical cord to their tribes and have a connection with the stranger "Marie-Rose"
Mar 09, 2014 Lina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sitt Marie Rose talks about a Christian woman named Marie Rose who gets kidnapped by Christian militia based on her political beliefs in the 1970’s during the Lebanese civil war. The novel pinpoints the violent outcomes that any war could bring where women’s opinion and involvement in war, society and politics are forbidden practices. In addition, Adnan illustrates how killing while using the name of God or on behalf of any religion or a leader is a dangerous thing that hypnotizes the masses and ...more
J.M. Hushour
Feb 21, 2013 J.M. Hushour rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Overwhelminlgy crappy. The very short text, which centers on a Christian teacher of the deaf being captured and then killed by Christian militiamen during the first period of the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s, has lots of potential, unfortunately it reads as if written by a 7th-8th grader in a creative writing class. This may be due to the translation, or it may be the result of this simply being a not-very-good book.
Apr 04, 2015 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a stunning anti-war, prose poem written about the civil war in Lebanon. All of the truths still ring today. Etel Adnan, I discovered, is a creative force; visual as well as written. Currently she has a show at Galerie Lelong in Paris and New York City. I am so glad to have discovered this artist. Although not an easy read, take your time, enjoy the language, and grieve for the victims both past and present.
Mar 13, 2014 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Reading this book was akin to that lurching moment you grip a hot pan on the stove and when the pain reaches your brain causing you to cry out and snatch your hand away. Its language is naked and sharp, nauseatingly visceral. Its message unashamed and clear: humanity is ugly, ravenous in its cannibalism, foul in its "love" and "mercy". Adnan wrote a work that pains and purifies, yet leaves one as hopeless as a blade of grass before a bulldozer.
Oct 06, 2014 Elia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Basically an overview of war and its absurdity. Femininity is an integral part of it, as it is the main enemy. The author also explores the dichotomy of being religious and considering ones self and community and the only beholders of the truth. The author makes a distinction between all the lines that separate geography and the more rigid ones separating faculties of the heart and reason.
Christopher Cormier
This books description of tribalism and war not only made these subjects almost synonymous with human in my mind, the accounts of its effects on individuals is pregnant with emotional detail.

It is the perfect companion piece to other war classics like Clausewitz for me as it completes the uncontrollable essence of wars and conflicts.
Beirut 1975. The sad truth of Lebanon civil war. Sitt Marie Rose supports Palestinian refugees, is beeing arrested and shall be sentenced by Mounir, her early love. Etel Adnan shows us the inhumanity of civil war, the conflict between Libanese & Palestinians. Frightening, stirring and very very sad.
Jan 16, 2015 Meltem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A.N bana Arapların,maalesef düşmana karşı nefreti tanımadığını anlatıyor.Onlar sadece birbirlerinden nefret ediyor.Onlar hala aile çekişmeleriyle,yani iç çatışmalarla,kardeş kavgalarıyla ilgilendikleri ilkel bir aşamada.Sadece kendilerine dönükler.Savaş bile olamamış bu iç katliamı böyle açıklıyor."
This is a powerful book about a woman who is executed by the Christian militia during the Lebanese Civil War. It is written in a jumpy manner, part one prewar and about a woman who is attempting to write a script for a movie. Part two is a bit confusing because it is written from the perspectives of three characters. I was very emotional reading this book; I think it is very well written.
Laurie (Mots Insatiables)
Comment parler d'un livre qui révèle l'horreur dont est capable l'homme, l'erreur qu'il fait en croyant assouvir les désirs imaginaires d'un Dieu, le racisme dont il est capable à cause d'une prétendue différence ? Bien entendu, personne ne connait ce livre, et personne n'en ressortira grandit.
Mar 29, 2007 Noren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adventuous and refreshing in structure and symbolism, Sitt Marie Rose feels confusing through the first read, but in the end, it justifies all its elements. Beautiful, elegant, well-though out, and it made me cry.
Mar 17, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
maybe the best paragraph ive read
Oct 21, 2012 Hadel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the novel is one of the novels that i enjoyed the most <3
Aug 30, 2011 Bridgette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent story and profound, important writing. Essential to the understanding of racial or religious wars and human suffering.
Apr 13, 2008 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coursebooks
Terribly depressing. I imagine the style would be better in the original French...
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Etel Adnan was raised in Beirut, Lebanon. Because her mother was from Greece and her father was from Damascus, Adnan grew up speaking Greek and Turkish in addition to Arabic and French. Etel Adnan earned degrees at the Sorbonne in Paris and studied at Berkeley and Harvard. In 1972, she moved back to Beirut and worked as cultural editor for two daily newspapers—first for Al Safa, later for L’Orient ...more
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“Morality is violence. An invisible violence at first. Love is a supreme violence, hidden deep in the darkness of our atoms. When a stream flows into a river, it’s love and it’s violence. When a cloud loses itself in the sky, it’s a marriage. When the roots of a tree split open a rock it’s the movement of life. When the sea rises and falls back only to rise again it’s the process of History. When a man and a woman find each other in the silence of the night, it’s the beginning of the end of the tribe’s power, and death itself becomes a challenge to the ascendancy of the group.” 3 likes
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