Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Randa Jarrar on A Map of Home

Randa Jarrar on A Map of Home

Q. Where would you say is home for you?

A. Right now I’m at my desk. I’m surrounded by these little toys and photos and objects that I’ve collected over the years. I’m happy here. It doesn’t matter where I am. I don’t think I need to be at a certain place to feel at home.

Randa Jarrar’s first novel, A Map of Home, tells the story of a girl coming of age in the Middle East and in middle America — Texas, to be precise. Jarrar chatted with Swati Pandey of Zócalo about her inspiration, how closely her character’s story hews to her own, and the work of Arab American writers.

AMAZON.COM: From America to the Middle East and back again- the sparkling story of one girl's childhood, by an exciting new voice in literary fiction

In this fresh, funny, and fearless debut novel, Randa Jarrar chronicles the coming-of-age of Nidali, one of the most unique and irrepressible narrators in contemporary fiction. Born in 1970s Boston to an Egyptian-Greek mother and a Palestinian father, the rebellious Nidali-whose name is a feminization of the word "struggle"-soon moves to a very different life in Kuwait. There the family leads a mildly eccentric middle-class existence until the Iraqi invasion drives them first to Egypt and then to Texas. This critically acclaimed debut novel is set to capture the hearts of everyone who has ever wondered what their own map of home might look like.

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