Meredith's Reviews > Crescent

Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber
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May 20, 10

bookshelves: middle-east, asian-literature, romance, iraq, islam, reviewed, food, cooking
Read in May, 2010

I spent much of my time reading this novel in a sensory haze. The writing herein is plush, evocative, and sensuous. Sirine, Han, Nathan, and Aziz aren't always likable, but they exist on so many dimensions that we forgive them their flaws. The story, which might have been soap-operatic in less capable hands, is intricate, complex.

One passage of particular interest to me, from both a narrative and feminist standpoint, comes when Sirine stumbles across some candid photographs of her and Han together. She muses, "It is as though the whole of their relationship has been somehow invisibly noted and catalogued. Hans is the hero and Sirine the love interest" (327). This is a jarring marginalization of self. Most of the story unfolds from Sirine's point of view, with a few brief forays into Han's past. It is interesting, then, that she downplays herself as a mere "love interest" when it is her character who drives the story. This is reflective of a larger insecurity that plagues her throughout--no matter how close she gets to Han, no matter how many men show romantic interest in her, she sees herself as simple-minded, inferior. Perhaps she can thank her parents--dead now, but neglectful when she was a child--for these issues.

This book began as an exercise in sheer "cover appeal" for me. I have contemplated reading Abu-Jaber's Origin many times, but had never before seen Crescent on the shelf. It was a shallow choice that paid off. Crescent is a complex love story. It is a treatise on family. Perhaps above all else, it is a probing exploration of the Arab-American immigrant experience.
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Quotes Meredith Liked

Diana Abu-Jaber
“Consider the difference between the first and third person in poetry [...] It's like the difference between looking at a person and looking through their eyes.”
Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent


Reading Progress

05/19/2010 page 152
43.55%
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Meredith Every so often, I pull a random book from the library shelf, lured by the spine design, and win big. My only complaint is that Abu-Jaber's writing has made me really hungry -- at 11:30 at night, long past the appropriate time for eating.


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