By Diana Abu-Jaber
In Diana Abu-Jaber's "impressive, entertaining" (Chicago Tribune) first novel, a small, poor-white group in upstate manhattan turns into domestic to the transplanted Jordanian relations of Matussem Ramoud: his grown daughters, Jemorah and Melvina; his sister Fatima; and her husband, Zaeed. The widower Matuseem loves American jazz, kitschy garden embellishes, and, in fact, his daughters. Fatima is passionate about seeing her nieces married—Jemorah is sort of thirty! Supernurse Melvina is firmly dedicated to her paintings, yet Jemorah is ambivalent approximately her identification and position. Is she Arab? Is she American? may still she marry and, if that is so, whom? Winner of the Oregon ebook Award and finalist for the nationwide PEN/Hemingway Award, Arabian Jazz is "a pleasure to read.... you'll be tempted to learn passages out loud. and also you should" (Boston Globe). USA Today praises Abu-Jaber's "gift for dialogue...her Arab-American jewelry musically, and hilariously, true."
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Congratulations,” I managed to call back. I could barely focus on what Bernie was telling me. I hadn’t noticed they’d sold their house. Bernie gave me the thumbs-up before picking up his copy of the Globe and Mail on the front porch. He examined the front cover, then waved a ﬁnal time before disappearing back into his house. I wrapped my sweater tighter around me. Since I hadn’t made it out of Nate’s bed the previous night, I was in the same outﬁt that I’d worn to work the day before. I sipped at my coffee, now at a tolerable temperature, and hugged the mug for warmth.
He immediately curled up into me, and shook his head. ” I asked him gently. “You can talk to me about anything. ” Nate shrugged. “Well, I’m here for you when you’re ready to talk. If you want to talk. Or I can just lie here with you . . ” He shrugged again. But he didn’t kick me out as he sometimes did. 48 I snuggled into his single bed, rubbing his arm with the tickle strokes I knew he loved. Just when his breathing slightly changed and I thought he was about to fall asleep, he popped up. I immediately sensed his urgency.
Everyone ploughed in except for Nate, who did nothing but push chicken and french fries around on his plate. “What’s wrong, Bean? Don’t you feel like eating? ” Nate shrugged, showing no interest in taking his ﬁrst bite. ” I asked, forcing a smile and trying to pretend that it was our typical Friday night, which always included takeout and a family movie. 44 Nate ignored me. “Is it your head? Does it still hurt? ” Pete asked. His voice was ﬂat and slightly irritated. “I told you, the ER doc said Nate will be ﬁne.
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