Evelyn Shakir’s witty, wise, and beautifully written memoir explores her status as an Arab American woman, from the subtle bigotry she faced in Massachusetts as a second-generation Lebanese whose parents were not only foreign but eccentric, to the equally poignant blend of dislocation and homecoming she felt in Bahrain, Syria, and Lebanon, where she taught American literature to university students. She effortlessly combines personal anecdote with cultural, political, and historical background, and is incapable of stereotyped thinking: one of the book’s many pleasures is the diversity she finds among the people she encounters in the Middle East, including not only students, but cab drivers, storekeepers, and the guys who make the spinach pies at the bakery down the street from her apartment. As Shakir explores her own identity, she leads the reader to an appreciation of the richness and complexity of being Arab American (or any mixed heritage) in an increasingly small world.
Evelyn Shakir is a writer, essayist, and scholar of Arab-American literature. She is the author of Bint Arab: Arab and Arab American Women in the United States and Remember Me to Lebanon: Stories of Lebanese Women in America.
"In her memoir, Evelyn Shakir keeps readers on their toes and turning pages as much with her lively prose as with her insightful observations about herself, her family, new people and places, culture and life itself" Brimming with humor, humanity, and thinking outside the box, Shakir's book offers many new insights on Arab-Americans, the younger generation in Beirut, Damascus and Manama, cross-cultural exchange and, not least, the art of teaching."