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Jokha Alharthi

Narinjah (The Bitter Orange Tree)

Narinjah (The Bitter Orange Tree)

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The eagerly awaited new novel by the winner of the Man Booker International Prize, Narinjah (The Bitter Orange Tree) is an extraordinary tale of one young Omani woman building a life for herself in Britain and reflecting on the relationships that have made her.

Zuhur, an Omani student at a British university, is caught between the past and the present. As she attempts to form friendships and assimilate in Britain, she can’t help but ruminate on the relationships that have been central to her life. Most prominent is her strong emotional bond with Bint Amir, a woman she always thought of as her grandmother, who passed away just after Zuhur left the Arabian Peninsula.
As the historical narrative of Bint Amir’s challenged circumstances unfurls in captivating fragments, so too does Zuhur’s isolated and unfulfilled present, one narrative segueing into another as time slips and dreams mingle with memories.
Narinjah (The Bitter Orange Tree) is a profound exploration of social status, wealth, desire, and female agency. It presents a mosaic portrait of one young woman’s attempt to understand the roots she has grown from, and to envisage an adulthood in which her own power and happiness might find the freedom necessary to bear fruit and flourish.

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Number of pages

House of Anansi


JOKHA ALHARTHI is the first Omani woman to have a novel translated into English. Her previous novel, Celestial Bodies, was the first book translated from the Arabic to win the International Booker Prize (formerly known as the Man Booker International Prize). Alharthi is the author of three previous collections of short fiction, three children’s books, and three novels in Arabic. Narinjah (The Bitter Orange Tree) received the Sultan Qaboos Award for Culture, Art, and Literature. She completed a Ph.D. in Classical Arabic poetry in Edinburgh and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat.

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