The Loved Ones
by Mamdouh, A.
Suhaila lies in a coma in a Paris hospital. The loved ones of the title are the constellation of friends, predominantly women, who flock to Suhaila’s side from all over the world to envelop her in the warmth of friendship that may ultimately save her and enable her rebirth. Suhaila comes alive through the stories about her: her excesses, her love of dancing, of wine, and of poetry, despite the years of abuse by her Iraqi husband, the bleakness of exile from home, and the frustrating separation from her only son. The Loved Ones is an intimately moving, polyphonic narrative of displacement, a disjointed, at times disfigured tale that blends diverse time frames so that the past, the present, and the future are intertwined and unified. This award-winning novel is a hymn to friendship and to boundless giving that ultimately restores life —it is a story about memory and history, a story against forgetting.