Welcome to our newest blogger, Mahboubeh!
Firstly, I am so excited to share my reading experience in two languages, English and Persian (Farsi), with you.
Secondly, If you want to read an inspiring story of how hope lives on in humanitarian actions and beliefs, try Little Bee by Chris Cleave, which was nominated for the 2008 Costa Book Awards and a 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
Also known in Europe as The Other Hand, this engaging story is told from two points of view. The first, from a young Nigerian girl named Udo, also known as Little Bee. Little Bee recounts how her life was devastated by the oil conflict in the Niger Delta. She has an unforgettable meeting with an English magazine editor named Sarah. The second narrator is Sarah, whose own life is thrown into chaos by a doomed love affair, a depressed husband, and a four year old child who refuses to take off his Batman costume. Sarah and Udo’s lives intersect, and someone loses a finger in order to save the other.
As a reader, you are exposed to the horrific conditions of asylum-seeker detention centers, including sexual exploitation, inhumane living conditions and limited access to basic healthcare. It also exposes the difficult process of adapting and integrating to a new society and culture. For each character, the future holds a different meaning – one of sadness and survival in the wake of a war for natural resources, and the other, a hope for love and happiness.
It reminds me of Persian author Sa’adi’s 13th century poem:
Thusly has Creation put the Base.
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace.
The Unconcern’d with Others’ Plight,
Are but Brutes with Human Face.
Sa’adi, 13th century Persian poet
Despite all the differences between these two women and the agony they face, Cleave makes the reader cheer for the humanitarian spirit with the strength and determination of both Udo and Sarah and also the humor of different characters.