Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth
An extraordinary novel from a Man Booker International Prize-winning author that follows one young Omani woman as she builds a life for herself in Britain and reflects on the relationships that have made her from a “remarkable” writer who has “constructed her own novelistic form” (James Wood, The New Yorker).
On sale May 10, 2022 • ISBN: 9781646220038
Zuhour, an Omani student at a British university, is caught between the past and the present. As she attempts to form friendships and assimilate in Britain, she can’t help but ruminate on the relationships that have been central to her life. Most prominent is her strong emotional bond with Bint Amir, a woman she always thought of as her grandmother, who passed away just after Zuhour left the Arabian Peninsula.
As the historical narrative of Bint Amir’s challenged circumstances unfurls in captivating fragments, so too does Zuhour’s isolated and unfulfilled present, one narrative segueing into another as time slips, and dreams mingle with memories.
The eagerly awaited new novel by the winner of the Man Booker International Prize, Bitter Orange Tree is a profound exploration of social status, wealth, desire, and female agency. It presents a mosaic portrait of one young woman’s attempt to understand the roots she has grown from, and to envisage an adulthood in which her own power and happiness might find the freedom necessary to bear fruit and flourish.
JOKHA ALHARTHI was the first Omani woman to have a novel translated into English. Celestial Bodies went on to win the Man Booker International Prize and became an international bestseller. Jokha Alharthi is the author of three collections of short fiction, three children’s books, and four novels in Arabic. She completed a PhD in Classical Arabic Poetry in Edinburgh, and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat.
MARILYN BOOTH holds the Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud Chair for the Study of the Contemporary Arab World at Oxford University. In addition to her academic publications, she has translated many works of fiction from the Arabic, most recently The Penguin’s Song and No Road to Paradise, both by Lebanese novelist Hassan Daoud, and Voices of the Lost by Hoda Barakat. Her translation of Celestial Bodies won the Man Booker International Prize.