by: Saud Al Sanousi,
'ABSORBING' - THE NEW YORKER
'AMBITIOUS, CULTIVATED AND BRAVE' - FINANCIAL TIMES
WINNER OF THE INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR ARABIC FICTION
THE CONTROVERSIAL AND DARING NOVEL THAT TOOK THE ARAB WORLD BY STORM
Josephine escapes poverty by coming to Kuwait from the Philippines to work as a maid, where she meets Rashid, an idealistic only son with literary aspirations. Josephine, with all the wide-eyed naivety of youth, believes she has found true love. But when she becomes pregnant, and with the rumble of war growing ever louder, Rashid bows to family and social pressure, and sends her back home with her baby son, José.
Brought up struggling with his dual identity, José clings to the hope of returning to his
father's country when he is eighteen. He is ill-prepared to plunge headfirst into a world where the fear of tyrants and dictators is nothing compared to the fear of ‘what will people say’. And with a Filipino face, a Kuwaiti passport, an Arab surname and a Christian first name, will his father’s country welcome him?
The Bamboo Stalk takes an unflinching look at the lives of foreign workers in Arab countries and confronts the universal problems of identity, race and religion.
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“Alsanousi is a voice of conscience” – Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
“A force to be reckoned with” – Arab Times
“A bold, heart-felt indictment against racism in Arab society. A narrative with power and resonance, which captivates the reader with its artful simplicity and its endearing protagonist” – Leila Aboulela, prize-winning author of Lyrics Alley,
“Engrossing, political and heartfelt” – Bidisha
““The Bamboo Stalk” is both brave and innovative in tackling the prejudices and closed-mindedness that lurk below the surface of Kuwait’s prosperous, highly educated society” - The Jordanian Times