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The Beauty of Your Face

de Sahar Mustafah

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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This is the story of a Palestinian American who experiences racism and religious persecution. The story is informative and cause for reflection. The writing was not as compelling for me. I would have thought the book was complete without the bookends of another incident. However, hearing an author interview, it appears that incident is what sparked the idea for the book. So I guess its best to say I appreciated everything except the one thing she wanted to write about. ( )
  beebeereads | Jun 17, 2021 |
The Beauty of Your Face is the debut novel of prize-winning short-story writer Sahar Mustafah. It describes a brutal shooting at a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs – the Nurrideen School for Girls – a tragic event which climaxes with a tense confrontation between the alt-right shooter and the school’s principal Afaf Rahman.

The story of the shooting, presented over a series of short chapters spread throughout the novel, provides a frame for a much more interesting narrative – an account of Afaf’s life and what led her to her current place in life. We learn of her upbringing in the 1970s as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, we witness the casual racism she has to face on a daily basis when growing up, the loss of her bearings during her adolescence and youth, and her eventual return to Islam (including her decision to start wearing a hijab) in the footsteps of her father, a “born-again” Muslim. Some of the more poignant chapters describe the widespread mistrust and harassment which the protagonists face in the aftermath of 9/11, and their pain at being branded not only as “different” but as “terrorists” simply because of their religious practices and the colour of their skin.

From a purely literary perspective, the novel is hardly groundbreaking. There are no technical shenanigans and no formal experiments. However, it is still a significant book because it presents us with a perspective with which many readers might be unfamiliar – that of an intelligent, contemporary Palestinian-American woman, who is also a devout, committed Muslim. Afaf’s story is told in flowing, limpid, unfussy prose but there is much attention to detail which helps to convey a vibrant picture of Arab culture.

Although hardly a “theological” book (there is little talk of God or of religious dogma), issues of faith and belief loom large in The Beauty of Your Face. As a Catholic who sometimes reads novels with religious themes, I feel that many contemporary Christian novels – especially when meant for “mainstream” readership – tend to deal mainly with doubt, loss of faith or the darker aspects of religion. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, as these are part of the spiritual experience. Yet, I found it refreshing to read a novel which, overall, projects a much more positive view of religious practice. Although in our secular times “organised religion” is often a term of suspicion (even amongst a wide cross-section of believers), this novel shows how “organised religion” can act as a force for good, if anything by providing the support of community, nurturing identity and belonging, and giving certain individuals (as in the case of Afaf and her father) a sense of direction in life. I found this a very uplifting theme, and one which I could connect with even if I do not share the protagonists’ beliefs and life-choices.

The Beauty of Your Face tackles big ideas, but ultimately, what is most engaging about it is the fact that it is also a very intimate family drama, about characters who try to find love and meaning even in distressing circumstances. Sahar Mustafah is herself the daughter of Palestinian immigrants to the US, and the story she tells brims with authenticity.

https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-beauty-of-your-face-by-sahar-must... ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
I was hesitant to start this book because I was nervous about the school shooting plot aspect which is still hard to read, but the rest of this book was incredibly difficult to put down. I finished it in one day.
I do love generational stories so I was already drawn in by that aspect, but the writing and the way the story was told was so real and vivid. I enjoyed the dialect, although without some prior knowledge of Middle Eastern culture/foods I would have spent a lot more time looking things up, but I think that really added to the authentic feel of the story.

I did feel like I was left hanging with the Nada storyline. For most of the book, I wondered if I skipped a page or missed something because it felt incomplete and then at the end I still felt that way. I had way more questions for the Nada storyline, then Afar meeting the shooter at the end, however, I think that is because we had the shooter's point of view.
Overall, this was one of the books that keeps you up turning the pages late at night an neglecting other things to find out more about Afar and a glimpse into her world.
Thanks to Netgalley for a providing me a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  sunshine608 | Feb 2, 2021 |
Afaf, the principal of a Muslim school for girls, is shocked and frozen when she hears gunfire and the screams of her students. As she listens, the book alternates to a young Afaf and her experiences growing up in America. A daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Afaf feels as if she is torn between two worlds, unable to fit into either of them. When her older sister goes missing, things quickly unravel with her parents.

This was a compelling and well written book. The alternating story lines worked very well together. It was interesting reading about Afaf's experiences growing up and the turmoil her family faced. I would love to read more from this author. Overall, highly recommended. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Oct 9, 2020 |
The Beauty of Your Face is the debut novel of prize-winning short-story writer Sahar Mustafah. It describes a brutal shooting at a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs – the Nurrideen School for Girls – a tragic event which climaxes with a tense confrontation between the alt-right shooter and the school’s principal Afaf Rahman.

The story of the shooting, presented over a series of short chapters spread throughout the novel, provides a frame for a much more interesting narrative – an account of Afaf’s life and what led her to her current place in life. We learn of her upbringing in the 1970s as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, we witness the casual racism she has to face on a daily basis when growing up, the loss of her bearings during her adolescence and youth, and her eventual return to Islam (including her decision to start wearing a hijab) in the footsteps of her father, a “born-again” Muslim. Some of the more poignant chapters describe the widespread mistrust and harassment which the protagonists face in the aftermath of 9/11, and their pain at being branded not only as “different” but as “terrorists” simply because of their religious practices and the colour of their skin.

From a purely literary perspective, the novel is hardly groundbreaking. There are no technical shenanigans and no formal experiments. However, it is still a significant book because it presents us with a perspective with which many readers might be unfamiliar – that of an intelligent, contemporary Palestinian-American woman, who is also a devout, committed Muslim. Afaf’s story is told in flowing, limpid, unfussy prose but there is much attention to detail which helps to convey a vibrant picture of Arab culture.

Although hardly a “theological” book (there is little talk of God or of religious dogma), issues of faith and belief loom large in The Beauty of Your Face. As a Catholic who sometimes reads novels with religious themes, I feel that many contemporary Christian novels – especially when meant for “mainstream” readership – tend to deal mainly with doubt, loss of faith or the darker aspects of religion. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, as these are part of the spiritual experience. Yet, I found it refreshing to read a novel which, overall, projects a much more positive view of religious practice. Although in our secular times “organised religion” is often a term of suspicion (even amongst a wide cross-section of believers), this novel shows how “organised religion” can act as a force for good, if anything by providing the support of community, nurturing identity and belonging, and giving certain individuals (as in the case of Afaf and her father) a sense of direction in life. I found this a very uplifting theme, and one which I could connect with even if I do not share the protagonists’ beliefs and life-choices.

The Beauty of Your Face tackles big ideas, but ultimately, what is most engaging about it is the fact that it is also a very intimate family drama, about characters who try to find love and meaning even in distressing circumstances. Sahar Mustafah is herself the daughter of Palestinian immigrants to the US, and the story she tells brims with authenticity.

https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-beauty-of-your-face-by-sahar-must... ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Sep 12, 2020 |
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Mustafah, Saharautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Han, GraceDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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