Grady's Reviews > My Trip to Adele

My Trip to Adele by R.I. Alyaseer
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it was amazing

“We don’t always have a justification for the goodbyes we say, my dear.”

Co-authors Ahmad Alyaseer and Rana Alyaseer are siblings from Jordan. While Ahmad is a filmmaker, having directed and produced many projects for a local station in his home nation, Rana is an architecture teacher at a private university in Jordan, having written a book called History in Architecture in Arabic, which became part of the university’s curriculum.

Ahmad and Rana have written two novels in Arabic – one in 2011 and another in 2015 – but neither was published. They also wrote a film called When Time Becomes a Woman, which Ahmad directed and produced. The film was screened at many festivals throughout the world. Now their dream comes to fruition with this fine short novel MY TRIP TO ADELE. Ahmad and Rana open their book with the following: ‘As the title suggests, the two co-authors of this book (who just happen to be siblings) love Adele. Long story short, we were obsessed with her latest album, 25, so we went to her concert in Verona and were inspired to write this novel. We had subsequently written a novel in 2011 and another in 2014, both of them in Arabic. However, neither was accepted by a traditional publisher. Instead of giving up on our dream of becoming authors we decided it was time to translate this one into English and self-publish it. Who cares if it attracts a traditional publisher or not? All we want is for people to read it and fall in love with it!’

With an introduction like that we readers already want to love the story – an dreading it proves that the tow Jordanian siblings have the gift and make a popular topic worth of attention. The opening paragraph assures us of their talent: ‘They say that Rome can evoke a million memories, and that its sprawling alleys refresh the soul. You cannot escape the beauty of the city, and you could never get bored of it. But despite the fact that I was physically there, my mind was wandering somewhere else; somewhere far, far away from Rome. Nostalgia had captivated me. On this calm evening – with the streets gradually emptying as the night approached its zenith – the soft roar of passing cars, the music of amateur street performers and Veronica’s chatter were unable to hold my attention. “Elias, are you listening to me?” Veronica asked, though she already knew the answer. “Oh yes, I am,” I answered in a vain attempt to convince her. “How come you left her?” she asked curiously, wrapping her arms around mine. “What do you mean?” “I mean, since you loved her so much, why did you leave her?” The problem was, I couldn’t confess why I had left her. There was a valid reason, but there was something that still drew me to her. Was it the mysterious love hidden between the walls of the glorious old city of Marrakesh? Or was it the contagious absurdity of the city’s famous El-Fnaa Square? I couldn’t honestly determine why. All I knew was that I had been unable to let go of her. I could still hear her gentle whispers in my ear and smell her sweet scent, which surrounded me wherever I went.’

But on to the summary of the plot – “An Adele concert held in Verona becomes the focus for an unhappy married couple, a divorced mother and a devoted lover from three different countries and cultures. This is the story of three flawed but likeable people. First up is Elias, a Moroccan man living in Rome. He discovers that a black magic spell was cast upon him but starts to doubt whether it was the real cause of the break-up between him and his long-lost love Malika. He decides to search for her in the shadows of Marrakesh after eight years of separation. Nadia, a single mother from Jordan, is battling her ex-husband in the courts and doing all she can to secure freedom for herself and her only son. Her dream is to take her son to see his idol, Adele, live. Finally, Yaser, a married man living in Las Vegas, realizes that his marriage is crawling all over him like a slow, painful death, so he starts to rebel against his wife. While faith initially brought them together, it is now causing them to drift apart. These three characters are on a journey to break free of everything that has haunted them, learning harsh truths about fate, religion, courage, desire and guilt along the way."

Lyrical, full of romance and the interplay of relationships and longings, discrepancies between beliefs and faiths, and that happy juxtaposition of cultures whose differences keep the story on fire with pleasure, this little novel is a very fine introduction to two talented artists who have their fingers on the pulse of contemporary living. A handsome book, this.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 7, 2017 – Shelved

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