November 1979. Violence has broken out in the holiest site of Islam after a charismatic rebel and his followers have attempted to announce the coming of the Redeemer. Amid the horror and chaos of the siege, Sarab, an insurgent, kidnaps a French officer. Caught between hostility and mutual attraction, the two forge an unusual relationship, each confronting the traumatic history that has brought them to this point--and how they might help each other overcome the memories that haunt them.
In this sweeping narrative ranging from the Najd desert to the green heart of Paris, award-winning writer Raja Alem examines the nature of identity, love, faith, and ultimately what it means to be human.
Raja Alem was born in Mecca and now lives in Paris. Her works include ten novels, two plays, biography, short stories, essays, literary journalism, writing for children, and collaborations with artists and photographers. She has received many awards in the Arab world and in Europe, including one from UNESCO for creative achievement in 2005, and another from the Lebanese Literary Club in Paris in 2008. In 2011, her novel The Dove's Necklace was awarded the prestigious International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
Leri Price is the translator of Khaled Khalifa's In Praise of Hatred and No Knives in the Kitchens of This City (AUC Press, 2016).