A new novel from award-winning Lebanese writer Iman Humaydan. “Did I live many lives or only one life enough for many women?” asks Miriyam in Other Lives. This third novel by Lebanese writer, Iman Humaydan, starkly and poignantly demonstrates how war, violence and dislocation have an impact not only on the lives of people who live through them but what life itself means, particularly for women. In Other Lives, Miriyam’s travels take her from her Shouf mountain village to Beirut, Melbourne and Paradise, Australia to Nairobi, Mombasa and Cape Town. Unwilling to be tied down by geography, language or men, Miriyam forges a path through the world that is at once hers uniquely and also deeply informed by her life’s experiences. Again and again, she is drawn back to the Lebanon of her birth and childhood, only to find it no longer there. She is forced to confront the ghosts of the civil war—her dead brother, her disappeared lover, and the life that she left behind when she immigrated to Australia. Humaydan deftly explores one woman’s negotiation of love and war, intimacy and loss, migration and home in a way that speaks beyond individual but to a collective experience.
Iman Humaydan is the author of three previous novels B as in Beirut, Wild Mulberries, and Other Lives, all published by Interlink. Michelle Hartman is an associate professor of Arabic and francophone literature at McGill University in Montreal. She is the translator of Iman Humaydan’s Wild Mulberries and Other Lives.