In The Inheritance of Exile, Susan Muaddi Darraj expertly weaves a tapestry of the events and struggles in the lives of four Arab-American women. Hanan, Nadia, Reema, and Aliyah search for a meaningful sense of home, caught in the cultural gap that exists between the Middle East and the United States.
Daughters of Palestinian immigrants who have settled into the diverse southern section of Philadelphia, the four friends live among Vietnamese, Italians, Irish, and other ethnic groups. Each struggles to reconcile her Arab identity with her American one. Muaddi Darraj adds the perspectives of the girls’ mothers, presented in separate stories, which illuminate the often troubled relationship between first and second generations of immigrants. Her suite of finely detailed portraits of arresting characters, told in evocative, vivid language, is sure to intrigue those seeking enjoyment and insight.
“This sweet, sorrowful book is rich with insight. The Inheritance of Exile tells an authentic story of Arab-American life—these characters are true, expressive, and moving. A fully engaging, satisfying collection indeed.” —Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Origin, Crescent, and The Language of Baklava
“These dazzling stories of four Palestinian-American women and their families give us a rare portrait of the life of exiles in America. Susan Muaddi Darraj writes with care and intelligence, and her compassion for her flawed and complex characters reminds us of our own humanity.” —Laila Lalami, author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
“The Inheritance of Exile is a remarkably engaging collection. With this effort, Muaddi Darraj announces her presence as a major voice in the genre of fiction. The collection sparkles with a lively sense of place, conflict, and description. So often, and so vividly, I felt as if I was reading the cultural items from my own memory.” —Steven Salaita, author of Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures, and Politics