Hussein's starkly beautiful novel Beyond Love plunges us into the 1991 Gulf War and its aftermath. Huda, the young woman at the center of the story, experiences the deprivation and humiliation of life in sanctioned Iraq, working in the satirically named al-Amal factory (factory of hope) making men's underwear. While surveillance and fear permeate daily life, Huda dares to vote "no" in the referendum for Saddam Hussein. This courageous act could have cost her her life had she not fled to the closest border, Jordan, where the novel begins. Huda is not alone: Iraqi exiles are legion there, all waiting to be relocated and start new lives. Unable to go home and to feel settled in a foreign city, she struggles to overcome her grief and haunting memories of the war and the Shi'ite uprising. In letters, diaries, and oral stories, Hussein's characters viscerally portray the pain of war and the alienation of exile. Originally published in Arabic in 2003, Beyond Love introduces English-language readers to one of the leading voices in Iraqi fiction today.
Publisher: Syracuse University Press