Mar 25, 2014

First Chapter: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

First Chapter, First Paragraph is a weekly meme hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea.

Title: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
Published February 4, 2014; Grove Press
Genre: fiction

First chapter:
You could say I was thinking of other things when I shampooed my hair blue, and two glasses of red wine didn't help my concentration. 
Book description:
Celebrates the singular life of an obsessive introvert, revealing Beirut’s beauties and horrors along the way.

Aaliya Sohbi lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, divorced, and childless, Aaliya is her family’s "unnecessary appendage.” Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated have never been read—by anyone. After overhearing her neighbors, "the three witches,” discussing her too-white hair, Aaliya accidentally dyes her hair too blue.

In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya’s digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Insightful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya’s volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.

A love letter to literature and its power to define who we are, the gifted Rabih Alameddine has given us a nuanced rendering of a single woman's reclusive life in the Middle East. (goodreads)

Based on the first paragraph and the book description, would you continue reading?


  1. This sounds very sad. I don't really like the title either. Not sure if I would want to read this. I hope it has an upbeat turn.

  2. Oo! This sounds good! Sad, but good! I would keep reading. I enjoy reading book about other cultures, especially when it touches on historical events and life issues (some of which we can all relate!).

  3. It does sound sad, but perhaps this woman discovers that she is "necessary" in the course of the book.

  4. Oh, wow, this one sounds awesome...and likely to tug at my heartstrings. Reclusive people who are aging have been in some of my recent reads. This has a unique twist to it, set in the Middle East. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  5. I would need to read a little bit more to decide.

  6. What an interesting intro....

    Here is my intro post!

  7. The into was funny to me, but that's clearly not the tone of this book after reading the summary. It does sound interesting, though.

    Here's Mine:

  8. I'm not sure I would continue reading, after I read the book description, it sounds to sad for me. I hope I am wrong.
    Thanks for the visit today.

  9. I do enjoyed the synopsis and probable would continue reading, she sounds like an interesting character.

  10. I didn't catch sad either. Dying her hair blue sounds funny to me. Maybe sadness shows up later. Hope you enjoy it.

  11. Anyone who dyes her hair blue is ok with me. I'd keep reading!

  12. I'm not sure about this one so I'll be curious to read your thoughts; thanks for joining us.

  13. well that paragraph along with the title have me curious.

  14. I most definitely would continue reading this based upon the description. I love books that delve into art and philosophy plus the main character here sounds very compelling.


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