Remeber Me to Lebanon
by Evelyn Shakir
Evelyn Shakir crafts tales that are rich in history and cultural detail, setting her stories in different eras, from the 1960s to the present and carrying us back, on occasion, to the turn of the twentieth century. Each in their own way, Shakir’s first- and second-generation women work either to reclaim their Lebanese heritage or to leave it behind. In “The Story of Young Ali”, a teenage girl resists her beloved father’s traditional tales of honor and self sacrifice. The matriarch of “House Calls,” on the other hand, is so wedded to the past that she returns from the grave to harangue her Americanized family. In “Oh, Lebanon,” a young woman who has fled Lebanon’s civil war and refuses to cover her hair with a scarf finds that turning her back on her past leads her in unexpected directions. With agile humor and emotional truth, Shakir offers multiple perspectives on the experience of Lebanese women in the United States. Her stories dismantle stereotypes and remind us that women of Lebanese background have been a part of the American narrative for over a century.