Eight-year-old Ruba lives in a village outside Beirut. From her family home, she can see the buildings shimmering on the horizon and the sea stretched out beside them. She can also hear the rumble of the shelling – this is Lebanon in the 1980s and civil war is tearing the country apart. Ruba, however, has her own worries. Her father hardly ever speaks and spends most of his days sitting in his armchair, avoiding work and family. Her mother looks so sad that Ruba thinks her heart might have withered in the heat like a fig. Her elder brother, Naji, has started to spend his time with older boys – and some of them have guns. When Ruba decides she has to save her father, and uncovers his secret, she begins a journey which takes her from childhood to the beginnings of adulthood. As Israeli troops invade and danger comes ever closer, she realises that she may not be able to keep her family safe. This is a first novel with tremendous heart, which captures both a country and a childhood in turmoil.
Reviews of A Girl Made of Dust
‘I adored “A Girl Made of Dust”. It touched my heart in so many ways. When I picked it up to read I was compelled to finish – I could not put it down. It was at once tender and tragic and Nathalie Abi-Ezzi wonderfully evoked that transient aspect of childhood where everything is possible. It is a book that begs to be re-read. The first time I rushed through to get to the end and the second time I slowed down to more fully appreciate the lovely language and authentic setting that Nathalie Abi-Ezzi created. “A Girl Made of Dust” is one of those books you can’t help but think about long after you finish. A truly remarkable story.’ Patricia Wood, author of ‘Lottery’, shortlisted for the 2008 Orange Prize
‘Captivating. A subtle, pertinent depiction of civilian life in the midst of bewildering conflict.’ Catherine Taylor, Guardian
‘A timely evocation of civilian suffering underneath the ubiquities of war…Heart-breaking and profound.’ Sunday Business Post
‘A moving insight into brutal conflict.’ Financial Times
‘Unnervingly real and gripping. Abi-Ezzi skilfully introduces the reader to a life in fear of bombs and stray bullets, as well as how new hope can be born from affliction.’ Ingrid Lamprecht, Socialist Review