Last year I read Nejoud Al Yagout‘s debut novel and loved it. Recently when I got to know that her second book was published, I was eager to get a copy for myself. Her second novel When The Haboob Sings has a beautiful cover with amazing content inside.
I don’t want to compare this novel with her first one- ‘Motorbikes and Camels’ as both of them are unique in their own way. The novel starts slowly in the first few pages and then picks up pace. When The Haboob Sings is an unputdownable book and you will root for the protagonist Dunya from start till the end.
The word Haboob means a violent and oppressive wind blowing in summer, bringing sand from the desert.
Below is the excerpt from the book:
When Dunya Khair writes a controversial article in the newspaper challenging the status quo in her country, the response-ranging from adulation to death threats- is swift.
The story begins with the bold and brave writer Dunya Khair in prison. She takes us back in time and recounts the last two years of her life. So we get to know the circumstances that gets her behind the bars.
When Dunya, an independent, educated and freedom-loving woman writes a controversial article in the newspaper her life takes a drastic turn. The repercussions are numerous from dissolution of familial ties to downfall of her marriage, nervous breakdown and depression.
Can Dunya rise from the brink or from the haboob surrounding her? Without giving spoilers, I can say the ending is unexpected and dramatic.
Overall it is a great book, very relevant, intriguing and insightful. All the characters are believable and oh-so-real, especially the protagonist Dunya.
Some of the quotes that I liked from the novel:
“We each have internal landscapes and climates. Torrential rains have been plaguing my aura lately: there have been floods and even a tsunami warning. I am on high alert. But how do I escape from myself? There is nowhere to hide from the waves surging inside me. There is nowhere to turn from the rising sea levels.”
“But I could not find a pill to cure my heartache.”
“How can you stay away from me? I can barely sleep or eat. My life is being lived on autopilot. Everyday, hope and despair battle for ownership inside of me. And both my hope and despair revolve around you.”
“Why do we feel the need to announce our sexuality, our faith(or lack of it), our political inclinations, our likes and dislikes publicly? Why? And why do some people want us to keep our views private?”
“Nothing, to me, could match the freedom of not belonging to anything.”
“That’s the thing with writers. You’re all egotists, thinking only of yourselves, not how your writing can affect others.”
“Why do we do whatever we want to do abroad as long as we hide who we are here?”
“Prayer has always worked for me. I feel calm. There is something about talking to god that has always soothed me.”