Silken Gazelles

A Novel


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On Sale: | $27

9781646222070 | Hardcover 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 272 pages Buy it Now

Book Description

“In Alharthi’s world, it’s not only the future that holds promise; the past has possibility and opportunities for revision, too.” —The New York Times Book Review

From Man Booker International Prize-winning author of Celestial Bodies and Bitter Orange Tree, a new novel about two Omani women whose unbreakable connection is forged as nursing sisters—a bond considered akin to that of a birth sibling

Raised as sisters, Ghazaala is devastated when her friend Asiya is forced to leave their small mountainside village following a tragic circumstance. It’s a separation that haunts her into adulthood, and she never gives up on finding a love that might replace the bond they shared.

Years later, Ghazaala’s family moves to Muscat, where she falls in love with a professional violinist who lives in their building. She completely surrenders herself to his charm and, despite her parents’ opposition, runs away from home to marry him. While balancing the duties of a new wife—caring for her husband, their home, and, before long, their twin boys—Ghazaala resumes her education and enrolls in university.

Ghazaala’s sharp wit catches the attention of another student, Harir, during their freshman year. In the pages of her diary, Harir recounts the story of her deepening, transformative friendship with Ghazaala over the course of ten years. The elusive, ghostly existence of Asiya exerts a force over both their lives, yet neither Ghazaala nor Harir is aware of the connection. From the brilliant mind of Jokha Alharthi comes a tale of childhood friendship, and how its significance—and loss—can be recalibrated at different stages of life.

About the Authors

Praise For This Book

Electric Literature, A Most Anticipated Title

"International Booker Prize winner Alharthi’s eloquent latest . . . [is] a worthy entry into the pantheon of stories about female friendship." —Publishers Weekly

"Alharthi mines rich material with her details of Omani history . . . A book about searching for love—both parental and romantic—and reckoning with the past." —Kirkus Reviews

"From the first page, Silken Gazelles is a lush, shimmering portrait of a small community in the mountains of Oman, filled with women who love and care for one another, who fight for their dreams, and whose desire for independence and passion charts their course through the world far from their village. Two girls raised as sisters are separated by a series of tragedies, and forever they seek each other, the bonds of childhood forever etched in memory. The women in this novel are unforgettable, and I can't stop thinking of them. Jokha Alharthi is among my favorite novelists—and this book is transcendent." —Susan Straight, author of Mecca and In the Country of Women