Daughters of Iraq by Revital Shiri-Horowitz

A splendid read, Revital Shiri-Horowitz brings the reader into a personal weave of love and hope. The story delves deep into the heart, allowing the reader to re-live those moments of their past, when they dreamt and later, remembered those they cared about.

Violet is the mother of Noa and Guy and wife to Dan. She speaks to us via a journal. Farida is Violet’s sister and tells us about her past – of her love for Eddie and of her never ending loneliness. Noa, Violet’s daughter, speaks of her aching heart and guilt as she thinks of her dying mother and of her current life and aspirations.

The story begins in Baghdad, Iraq in 1940 when Violet was a young girl who was beaten by her then, respected father, for telling a lie and being rebellious. It then moves on to Farida in the second chapter where we see her going about her life, making okra patties for her grandchildren and contemplating her visit to the hair salon. She remembers her childhood days with her nephew, Eddie and  sister Violet and how they used to frolic around after sneaking away from school.  Noa comes next, an adult yet still a young girl at heart as she remembers her past – her mother’s cancer and her going away. We learn a bit about these three women and the story moves on.

The introduction is thought out well and urges the reader to carry on reading to the next chapter and the next, never slowing down. There is never a dull moment in this book;  the personal conflicts are vital to the stories as the reader gets to know and understand and fall in love with Violet and Farida’s family, especially Eddie.

Revital writes with confidence and smoothly, unravelling the sequences of the past and present without getting the reader confused. The chapters are short and to the point which makes reading very easy.

Of all the characters, I loved Farida the most for her sense of humour, her compassion, her witty sayings and her abundance of love and for her love for food. She is a colourful character and a lovely women.

Daughters of Iraq is a book which must be read. The sharp intelligence of these three women; their heartaches and strong emotions are reflected in todays’ men and women. It is contemporary, yet historical. I would recommend reading this book, for the beautiful story telling and for the first hand insights of the Iraqi women.

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