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Publisher's Summary

Half-Iraqi, half-American Sirine is a cook at Nadia's Cafe, which draws the neighborhood's Arab students, expatriates, and exiles. All are hungry for "real true Arab food" and connection to their homes. One is Hanif Al Eyad, a new hire in the Near Eastern Studies Department at the university who fled Iraq as a young man. Sirine and Han fall in love over food: a baklava they make together, delicate lamb dishes, hummus glistening with olive oil.Populated by colorful and memorable characters (the lovely Sirine; the handsome Han; Sirine's story-telling uncle, whose fantasic fables are woven into the novel; a poet named Aziz; Nadia and her daughter Mireille) Crescent explores the universal themes of love and loyalty to countries old and new, to those left behind, and to tradition. Some of the characters are learning to live in one country and let go of another, and some are not: a fact that sparks a surprising ending.
©2003 Diana Abu-Jaber; Pulbished by arrangement with W.W. Norton & Company Inc.; © and (P)2003 HighBridge Company
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Critic Reviews

"Abu-Jaber's language is miraculous." (Booklist)
"A beautifully imagined and timely novel...Abu-Jaber's poignant contemplations of exile and her celebration of Sirine's exotic, committed make this novel feel as exquisite as the 'flaming, blooming' mejnoona tree behind Nadia's Cafe." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Fran on 06-11-04


There are love stories, then there is this one. All that the book reviews have said about this book is true, and then some. I was mesmerized by the narrator's voice, the author's skill at description, the ability to draw me in. Wonderful command of language.
I usually plunge right in on another audiobook, but after this story, I needed time to think about the characters and their situation for a while before I could begin another book.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By P. C..S. on 04-26-12

Narrator robs the text of its poetry

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This is a fascinating story that could have made a very provocative, engaging read. Unfortunately, the flat-line monotony and nasal tones of the reader's "Sirene" allow none of the poetic flow or emotion of the language to shine through. It is very difficult not to drift off in the middle of her unvaried cadence.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By ms on 02-28-17

Beautifully written

very evocative writing, two tales in tandem, connected magically. Really enjoyed the Narrator who told the fairytale... not too sure about the other one: her voice jars with me a bit although I got used to it eventually ...

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