Monday, November 25, 2019

Rajia Hassib

Rajia Hassib was born and raised in Egypt and moved to the United States when she was twenty-three. She holds an MA in creative writing from Marshall University and her short fiction has appeared in Upstreet, Steam Ticket, and Border Crossing magazines. She lives in West Virginia with her husband and two children.

Hassib novels are In the Language of Miracles and the recently released A Pure Heart.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Hassib's reply:
Women Talking by Miriam Toews

I read this novel a few months ago, and I still can’t get over how much it pulled me in, especially considering that it’s set in one place (a Mennonite colony) over the course of two days when women gather and, as the title reveals, talk. I could not put it down, and I remain in awe of how Toews managed to make these women, whom many would see as “others,” so familiar, and how she makes their dilemma so relevant to all women. It’s a wonderful exploration of the space women must negotiate when their cultural and religious identity becomes, suddenly, no longer a comfortable space to inhabit.

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

Exploring the aftermath of the killing of a Moroccan immigrant, The Other Americans brilliantly examines many of the most challenging issues surrounding immigration (xenophobia, belonging, the chasm between first and second-generation immigrants), while populating the novel with a diverse, varied cast of characters and giving them all their unique voices. The result is a truly poignant examination of some of today’s most relevant issues, all told within the captivating frame of a murder mystery. This is a beautiful novel that manages to combine a brilliant, engaging plot with a multitude of thought-provoking themes.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

In The Dutch House, Ann Patchett is, as always, in total and enviable control of her craft. Not a single scene or sentence feels out of place, the novel is brilliantly paced, and the characters of the siblings, Maeve and Danny, are thoroughly complex and engaging. The entire novel is told from the point of view of Danny, and, in addition to being a captivating read, it’s a seriously fascinating study of what an excellent writer can do with a limited point of view—what Danny sees and reflects on is constantly complimented by what he never gives much thought to, and the result is an experience any discerning reader should certainly relish.
Visit Rajia Hassib's website.

The Page 69 Test: In the Language of Miracles.

--Marshal Zeringue