Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless and divorced, Aaliya is her family´s ´unnecessary appendage´. Every year, she translates a new favourite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that she has translated over her lifetime have never been read or touched by anyone but her.
An Unnecessary Woman is a breathtaking portrait of a woman in her solitude. It follows Aaliya´s firefly mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Her delightfully colourful musings on literature, philosophy and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War, and her own volatile past. As Aaliya tries to overcome her ageing body and spontaneously emotional outbursts, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to break apart the tidy life she has made for herself.
A love letter to literature, to reading and its power to define who we are, the prodigiously gifted Rabih Alameddine has given us a magnificent portrait of one woman´s life in the Middle East.