Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What is Emily Robbins reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Emily Robbins, author of A Word for Love: A Novel.

Her entry begins:
We Eat Our Own, by Kea Wilson.

It is stunning how beautifully Wilson writes men and violence. And, the lush life of the Amazonian river! I am literally in the middle of this book, so couldn’t give away the end even if I wanted to. Wilson writes from the perspectives of many different characters; right now, I am reading a chapter from the perspective of a young student-turned-kidnapper, who plays classical music for the man he has helped to kidnap, and who reminds me of the hostage-takers in Bel Canto – mostly because I’ve come to love this character, as I loved the ones in that book. I have heard others call this novel suspenseful, and it is, but...[read on]
About A Word for Love, from the publisher:
A mesmerizing debut set in Syria on the cusp of the unrest, A Word for Love is the spare and exquisitely told story of a young American woman transformed by language, risk, war, and a startling new understanding of love.

It is said there are ninety-nine Arabic words for love. Bea, an American exchange student, has learned them all: in search of deep feeling, she travels to a Middle Eastern country known to hold the “The Astonishing Text,” an ancient, original manuscript of a famous Arabic love story that is said to move its best readers to tears. But once in this foreign country, Bea finds that instead of intensely reading Arabic she is entwined in her host family’s complicated lives–as they lock the doors, and whisper anxiously about impending revolution. And suddenly, instead of the ancient love story she sought, it is her daily witness of a contemporary Romeo and Juliet-like romance–between a housemaid and policeman of different cultural and political backgrounds–that astonishes her, changes her, and makes her weep. But as the country drifts toward explosive unrest, Bea wonders how many secrets she can keep, and how long she can fight for a romance that does not belong to her. Ultimately, in a striking twist, Bea’s own story begins to mirror that of “The Astonishing Text” that drew her there in the first place–not in the role of one of the lovers, as she might once have imagined, but as the character who lives to tell the story long after the lovers have gone.

With melodic meditation on culture, language, and familial devotion. Robbins delivers a powerful novel that questions what it means to love from afar, to be an outsider within a love story, and to take someone else’s passion and cradle it until it becomes your own.
Learn more about A Word for Love.

My Book, The Movie: A Word for Love.

The Page 69 Test: A Word for Love.

Writers Read: Emily Robbins.

--Marshal Zeringue