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Set between war-torn Syria and the West, Stripped to the Bone explores issues of identity, love, strife, courage and resilience in seven fictional portraits of Syrian women. Syrian-Canadian author and translator Ghada Alatrash is a Doctoral Student at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma Set between war-torn Syria and the West, Stripped to the Bone explores issues of identity, love, strife, courage and resilience in seven fictional portraits of Syrian women. Syrian-Canadian author and translator Ghada Alatrash is a Doctoral Student at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma. One of her goals is to amplify the voices of the margin-alized through her writings. She translated and published a collection of Arabic poems in English, entitled So that the Poem Remains.


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Set between war-torn Syria and the West, Stripped to the Bone explores issues of identity, love, strife, courage and resilience in seven fictional portraits of Syrian women. Syrian-Canadian author and translator Ghada Alatrash is a Doctoral Student at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma Set between war-torn Syria and the West, Stripped to the Bone explores issues of identity, love, strife, courage and resilience in seven fictional portraits of Syrian women. Syrian-Canadian author and translator Ghada Alatrash is a Doctoral Student at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma. One of her goals is to amplify the voices of the margin-alized through her writings. She translated and published a collection of Arabic poems in English, entitled So that the Poem Remains.

30 review for Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kawther

    I won an ebook copy of this book in LibraryThing I'm very picky of what i read so i would have never guessed that i would like this book , let alone love it this much! It was so beautiful , one of my best reads so far , every word was captivating, the writing was so beautiful as if each letter was magic . That's it ! Ghada Alatrash is my favorite author now. you can't imagine the emotions i went through while reading it , i laughed and cried . it broke my heart into million pieces and then mended i I won an ebook copy of this book in LibraryThing I'm very picky of what i read so i would have never guessed that i would like this book , let alone love it this much! It was so beautiful , one of my best reads so far , every word was captivating, the writing was so beautiful as if each letter was magic . That's it ! Ghada Alatrash is my favorite author now. you can't imagine the emotions i went through while reading it , i laughed and cried . it broke my heart into million pieces and then mended it back together , made it whole again. This book contained many stories , i LOVED them all but here are my favorites : 1- Zahrah , The first story in this book , and it was the moment i knew i was hooked! I just understood her , and her feelings so clearly , i related to her , to her thoughts and desires. 2-Mayyada and Reem, a story of two beautiful strong ladies who deserve so much more ( her brother made my blood boil!) 3-Lama and Kristian , this one made me cry . Beautiful and tragic .Love and loss. "Everything ends , even dreams" And there was a moment in "Um Jaad" when i laughed , when the woman remembered how her mother reprimanded her because of her bra in the clothing line , i was like "Hey that happened to me too!" No im not exaggerating, you just have to pick this book and read it right now! You're missing out. This book is a masterpiece, my heart breaks for the beautiful Syria and it's people , The mothers, the women , men and children Sending you love and prayers from Algeria ...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Antoinette

    This was an eye opening book- it is an exploration of Syria through it's women, The author provides insight into what it's like to be a Syrian woman, whether you still live in Syria or elsewhere. The seven stories about these seven women are all unique. The author does not shy away from confronting the atrocities against women in her home country. But it not all about the atrocities, it is about friendships, family and love. What the author displays beautifully is the love of homeland, no matter This was an eye opening book- it is an exploration of Syria through it's women, The author provides insight into what it's like to be a Syrian woman, whether you still live in Syria or elsewhere. The seven stories about these seven women are all unique. The author does not shy away from confronting the atrocities against women in her home country. But it not all about the atrocities, it is about friendships, family and love. What the author displays beautifully is the love of homeland, no matter where you are, no matter how much has changed. It is such a timely book- deep down we are all people, we are all women who want the best for ourselves and for the ones we love. I loved the poetry interspersed amongst the stories. A very well written, elegiac book. While all the stories touched me, the last was so moving, I feel I must share it.The last story in the collection is about a couple moving to join their daughter in the States. They do not want to leave Syria, but it has become so dangerous, they finally agree. The mother wants to take a reminder of her home and country- she takes her herbs. What happens at the border was priceless and so brought tears to my eyes. Can't give you a spoiler, but this book is so worth reading. I loved it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    There couldn't be a more appropriate time for me to have read this collection of stories. Considering the current climate of our country, reading diverse literature is more important than ever and Stripped to the Bone is an eye opening book for those who aren't familiar with Syria or only know what they've seen/read in the news. Ghada Alatrash's writing is very poetic and she covers a variety of Syrian women's stories and experiences in the seven narrations compiled in this book - no two tales ar There couldn't be a more appropriate time for me to have read this collection of stories. Considering the current climate of our country, reading diverse literature is more important than ever and Stripped to the Bone is an eye opening book for those who aren't familiar with Syria or only know what they've seen/read in the news. Ghada Alatrash's writing is very poetic and she covers a variety of Syrian women's stories and experiences in the seven narrations compiled in this book - no two tales are alike. Considering the stereotypes and fear that are such a sad part of our current reality, Alatrash's book provides insight into what it's like to be a Syrian woman - those who may still live in a country that is rife with war and government intimidation, those who have become refugees looking to have a life somewhere outside of their home country, those who wish to maintain their Syrian identity and those who desperately seek to find happiness in being both Syrian and a modern woman. Alatrash's brief glimpses into these women's lives provides a stark contrast to how these women may often be portrayed in the media and the news and I found that to be extremely refreshing. In her postcript Alatrash writes, "Indeed, it's a pity how we humans consciously, insistently, and persistently, continue to create divisions among ourself, and, even more disturbing, we seem to find comfort and a sense of understanding in alienating one another." I find it chilling how true this statement rings for our country. By continuing to highlight diverse books and, in particular, female authors, I hope to find solace and understanding in a world where it's not always clear why people act and think the way they do. Thank you Library Thing and Petra Books for introducing me to such a wonderful author!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    This is a small (176 pages) but very powerful book that will linger in your thoughts. The beautiful poetry of Nizar Qabbani, Khalil Gibran, Mahmoud Darwish, Naomi Shibab Nye, and others are sprinkled throughout the book like fleeting scents of jasmine rose water. The poem “Um Muhannad”, an original by Ghada Alatrash is truly heartbreaking. This little book runs the gamut of emotions. I felt the nervous anticipation and rebelliousness as Zahrah prepares to meet the man her father wants her to meet This is a small (176 pages) but very powerful book that will linger in your thoughts. The beautiful poetry of Nizar Qabbani, Khalil Gibran, Mahmoud Darwish, Naomi Shibab Nye, and others are sprinkled throughout the book like fleeting scents of jasmine rose water. The poem “Um Muhannad”, an original by Ghada Alatrash is truly heartbreaking. This little book runs the gamut of emotions. I felt the nervous anticipation and rebelliousness as Zahrah prepares to meet the man her father wants her to meet. Then there’s the horror over the imprisonment of Reem and Mayyada, and Mayyada confessing that she prefers the torture and imprisonment over the life she led at the hands of her own brother. The tender love affair of Lama and Kristian. The agonizing heartbreak of Um Muhannad. This story, in particular, tore at me. A heartbreak felt by way too many mothers throughout the region. The story of Hazem and Basil’s forbidden love, yet they open their hearts to an orphan girl. I could feel the despair of the women as they came to the realization that they would have to leave their homeland. “To leave a homeland was to leave a piece of one’s heart and soul behind.” And the pleading of a mother to be allowed to bring just a piece of her homeland with her into the US. Thank you to LibraryThing and Petra Books for a complimentary copy for review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Denis Mcgrath

    Almost every day international TV news shows us the horrors of war in Syria where we see the ghoulish destruction but do not hear the voices of the women. Ghada Alatrash takes us into the hearts and flesh of Syrian women first through exquisite poetry and then through their narratives. It is a soulful journey, filled with pain and acceptance, as the poet Mahmoud Danwish says “…I am not a land or a journey, I am a woman, no more and no less.” The old grandmother who brings with her a bag of herbs Almost every day international TV news shows us the horrors of war in Syria where we see the ghoulish destruction but do not hear the voices of the women. Ghada Alatrash takes us into the hearts and flesh of Syrian women first through exquisite poetry and then through their narratives. It is a soulful journey, filled with pain and acceptance, as the poet Mahmoud Danwish says “…I am not a land or a journey, I am a woman, no more and no less.” The old grandmother who brings with her a bag of herbs from her garden and pleads with the customs agent to let her bring them in to her new country particularly moved me. It is the only item she brings, everything else is left behind. This book is a must read with a great selection of Arabic poems. I received an electronic copy in return for an honest review .

  6. 4 out of 5

    Isobel Blackthorn

    Stripped to the Bone opens with the natural yearnings of Zahrah, a single woman ageing and in need of a husband, who fills her heart with Hollywood movies to escape her edge of survival existence in a war zone. Then there’s the story of Reem and Mayyada, two women both unjustly imprisoned and forced to endure torture and rape. Here the abuse of a zealot brother is juxtaposed with the almost faceless and arbitrary violence of the prison officers, Alatrash making observations relevant to all women Stripped to the Bone opens with the natural yearnings of Zahrah, a single woman ageing and in need of a husband, who fills her heart with Hollywood movies to escape her edge of survival existence in a war zone. Then there’s the story of Reem and Mayyada, two women both unjustly imprisoned and forced to endure torture and rape. Here the abuse of a zealot brother is juxtaposed with the almost faceless and arbitrary violence of the prison officers, Alatrash making observations relevant to all women everywhere. In Stripped to the Bone ancient traditions are portrayed alongside modern values and lifestyles as Syrian women hold on to what is precious and beautiful while adapting to modern ways. In ‘Hanaan and Salaam’ the author tackles homophobia, in ‘Lama’ multicultural relationships, as those Syrians who have fled their homeland adapt to their new lives. Written in gentle, ironic and often sensual prose, this collection oozes intimacy. Alatrash infuses her stories with pride and anguish, pride in her culture and anguish over the cruelties meted out in the name of God and country. But above all, Alatrash is concerned with the unjust war Syria endures, a civil war with all too powerful interested parties, a proxy war involving America, Russia and Saudi Arabia and their various allies: a bloodbath. In this collection, the geopolitics of Syria forms a translucent backdrop, Alatrash leaving it to the reader to educate themselves if they wish. Of concern for the author is the impact all of the various injustices have had on women’s lives. In ‘Um Jaad’, a story of a Syrian woman travelling to visit her sister in Homs who has just lost her little boy, Alatrash writes: “More deafening than the screams was the silence of the world.” It was her sister “Who lived the pain of the atrocities erasing Syrians off the map.” Interwoven in stories that invite reflection and at times confront the reader with harsh and horrifying realities, is beautiful verse, verse that depicts the Syrian soul, verse to savour and revisit time and again. Stripped to the Bone is a questioning and intelligent book, at once romantic, poignant and passionate. A huge sadness pervades the collection, a sense of loss of culture, of heritage and of all that is meaningful and valuable and important in women’s lives. The reader will take away the thought that what continues to happen in Syria should never have begun. Timely and significant, Stripped to the Bone is a must read for anyone wanting to understand Syria from within, from the perspective of the everyday domestic lives of its women.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    This is a very brief collection of seven short stories. The women depicted are from different aspects of Syrian culture: Druze, secular and Muslim, daughters and wives, progressive families and very conservative families; those who stayed in Syria and those who left. The writing is honest and kind. It gives us a look into women's lives in the midst of a war-torn and culturally-torn area of the globe that not many of us are familiar with outside the brutal images on the evening news. Each story be This is a very brief collection of seven short stories. The women depicted are from different aspects of Syrian culture: Druze, secular and Muslim, daughters and wives, progressive families and very conservative families; those who stayed in Syria and those who left. The writing is honest and kind. It gives us a look into women's lives in the midst of a war-torn and culturally-torn area of the globe that not many of us are familiar with outside the brutal images on the evening news. Each story begins with a bit of poetry or a quoted phrase from a well known poet or writer from the region. “To leave a homeland was to leave a piece of one’s heart and soul behind. He cried as the plane departed the soil of his birthplace. He cried tears of pain; they were tears that sprung from a broken heart. He closed his eyes and reflected on Palestinian Mahmoud Darwish’s words: ' You ask: What is the meaning of homeland They will say: the house, the mulberry tree, the chicken coop, the beehive, the smell of bread, and the first sky. You ask: can a word of eight letters be big enough for all of these components, yet too small for us?' [In the Presence of Absence, an excerpt from “IV”, by Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian,” Another that touched my heart was that of a Syrian Refugee in Canada, whose gay brother and partner are awaiting the arrival of their new daughter – an Syrian orphan. “Throughout life, she had been taught that the likes of Hazem and Baasil are cursed with a disease, sick, and bound for hell. An ironic world indeed, she thought to herself. Those fighting, killing, beheading and raping in the name of a God were bound to heaven and awarded virgin brides, while two men like Hazem and Baasil, who were the manifestation of goodness and the essence of truth, were deemed pagans destined to burn in God's scorching fires. She smiled at the two truly beautiful men ..” I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    Really, 3.5 (which is high praise from me). Please note that this book was written by a friend that I hold dear and count as family. It is her portrait of a Syrian woman and it is beautiful. "There were labels and tags for everyone: "Christian" or "Muslim", "Sunni" or "Shia", "Druze" or "Sunni", and today "pro" and "anti" [regime]. But why couldn't the labels have simply been humane or inhumane, she thought to herself, and if humans were to be stripped to the core, to the bone, would the colour o Really, 3.5 (which is high praise from me). Please note that this book was written by a friend that I hold dear and count as family. It is her portrait of a Syrian woman and it is beautiful. "There were labels and tags for everyone: "Christian" or "Muslim", "Sunni" or "Shia", "Druze" or "Sunni", and today "pro" and "anti" [regime]. But why couldn't the labels have simply been humane or inhumane, she thought to herself, and if humans were to be stripped to the core, to the bone, would the colour of their skins make any difference after all?" "She kissed her brother's cheek and tasted life's bitterness in his tears." "Time was impatient, and its train was leaving with or without her. If she didn't choose to leave, she would end up staying, and she did not want to stay" "She saw marriage as a process in which two separate trees are uprooted from their soils and planted in one another's, with the expectation that they can grow in each other's shade. Naturally, one, if not both trees, would wither, and at times, one might even die in the process. Only in exceptional cases, when trees are carefully planted within a healthy distance from one another, can they both blossom; distance provides space for personal growth."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing. This novel made me yearn to read poetry in the jasmine-scented gardens of a peaceful Damascus. At times, my heart was broken, and I wished to reach out and hold the women in these pages. There were moments while reading where hope, optimism, and joy restored my soul. Stripped to the Bone is not a long book; it is merely a collection of short moments in the lives of several Syrian Women. Yet, it takes you further and makes you feel more than I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing. This novel made me yearn to read poetry in the jasmine-scented gardens of a peaceful Damascus. At times, my heart was broken, and I wished to reach out and hold the women in these pages. There were moments while reading where hope, optimism, and joy restored my soul. Stripped to the Bone is not a long book; it is merely a collection of short moments in the lives of several Syrian Women. Yet, it takes you further and makes you feel more than many books three times as long. It is simply a wonderful work of art. I adored this collection. I felt I was experiencing a portrait of the subjects in Alatrash's novel. A photographer or painter would do well to portray the subjects in such an honest, stunning, and impactful manner. One cannot read these glimpses without being changed forever - perhaps because life is a collection of moments and these shared moments are so raw and beautifully honest.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I received this book for free through LibraryThing. I could only get into the second story and had to stop. The first story I loved but it was laborious to even get to it (since I read everything before hand). The second story was also laborious to get to but then also was too much to read. The labor is in all of the explanations and setups. If a story cannot stand alone, it is not written well. And the second story with its multiple lines, bracketed word definitions that did not seem to feed in I received this book for free through LibraryThing. I could only get into the second story and had to stop. The first story I loved but it was laborious to even get to it (since I read everything before hand). The second story was also laborious to get to but then also was too much to read. The labor is in all of the explanations and setups. If a story cannot stand alone, it is not written well. And the second story with its multiple lines, bracketed word definitions that did not seem to feed into the story, the story’s flow was too interrupted. That’s why people use italics and a glossary. That is poor editing. If this much poetry to setup a story is common elsewhere, it does not fit my preferred reading style. Even then, I did not see or understand fully the connections between the poetry and the stories. I expected stories not poetry.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Faranae

    Received free as an ARC. A fascinating read, but it lacks polish. One problem I had with my copy was the manner in which notations were handled - usually in-line notes rather than endnotes or footnotes. Now, e-readers tend to handle footnotes badly, but I would have preferred endnotes to in-line as a solution. It frequently broke up the flow, often with explanations of things I was already familiar with. Weirdly, the one thing I was not familiar with (a traditional love story) was given barely a Received free as an ARC. A fascinating read, but it lacks polish. One problem I had with my copy was the manner in which notations were handled - usually in-line notes rather than endnotes or footnotes. Now, e-readers tend to handle footnotes badly, but I would have preferred endnotes to in-line as a solution. It frequently broke up the flow, often with explanations of things I was already familiar with. Weirdly, the one thing I was not familiar with (a traditional love story) was given barely any explanation, while simple translation decisions were repeatedly explained at length. Overall, the material was both beautiful and difficult, but the author's own editorial voice was more impediment than aid.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Perfect time to read this book! Our world needs to see the strength, hearts and stories of so many Syrian women searching for peace and calm to live and raise families. I thought the stories were beautifully written and I enjoyed the poetry with each story. I think everyone should read this book! I received this book through libraryThing Early Reviewers for my honest review which I have provided here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    This group of tales explores the lives of women in a particular area of the Middle East generally unfamiliar to those of us in the US who are a generation or more from our own European roots. The characters serve to remind us that we are more alike than we are different. Each offering is very moving and requires some time for reflection and personal growth. I received a copy from the publisher after winning a LibraryThing Giveaway.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fischwife

    This is a beautifully written, sometimes heart-wrenching collection of stories. Alatrash evokes the beauty, fragrance, love of family, and sense of community that was Syria before the recent conflict; as well as the horror, destruction, loss, and displacement resulting from the conflict. A must read!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Alatrash's compilation is poetry made prose. The stories she tells are emotionally draining and sometimes strange to the Western understanding. The lives she presents in these portraits of Syrian women are diverse, brilliant, and stunningly beautiful. I do not think I have ever read a novel so aesthetic before. STRIPPED TO THE BONE is a series of tales of Syrian women in all walks of life and in several parts of the world. It is a beautiful look at an amazing, sad, and wrought culture. The storie Alatrash's compilation is poetry made prose. The stories she tells are emotionally draining and sometimes strange to the Western understanding. The lives she presents in these portraits of Syrian women are diverse, brilliant, and stunningly beautiful. I do not think I have ever read a novel so aesthetic before. STRIPPED TO THE BONE is a series of tales of Syrian women in all walks of life and in several parts of the world. It is a beautiful look at an amazing, sad, and wrought culture. The stories are quick and easy to read and definitely worth everyone's time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Ghada Alatrash's little book is an intersection between fiction and reality, between bittersweet poetry and life. The author writes about fictional women both in Syria, and those who had to leave their beloved homeland behind. The stories of the women are as diverse as the background of each of them: daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wifes, Muslims, Christians, Druze, refugees, survivors... Each of the stories is beautifully enr I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Ghada Alatrash's little book is an intersection between fiction and reality, between bittersweet poetry and life. The author writes about fictional women both in Syria, and those who had to leave their beloved homeland behind. The stories of the women are as diverse as the background of each of them: daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wifes, Muslims, Christians, Druze, refugees, survivors... Each of the stories is beautifully enriched by selected poems, quotes, and song lyrics. The stories are authentic and transport the readers directly into the lives and very often thought processes of the women and the people of Syria. Alatrash uses a lot of Arabic words and sayings,and each of them are beautifully explained to the reader with little notes and footnotes, and only add to the athmosphere of the stories. In my opinion it was a beautiful and so important read. But don't be fooled: This book does not raise a big finger and is not an indictment against the West. Nor does this book feature only stories of oppressed women. This is a book about strong proud women, proud Syrian citizens who carry their beloved homeland deeply in their hearts and minds, whether that be in Syria itself or elsewhere. It is about women who fight every day to live a normal life in ways that most of us will never understand in their lifetimes. It is both beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time, very much like life itself.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Just finished reading 'Stripped to the Bone' by Ghada Al Atrash Janbey for the second time. Trying to encapsulate the journey this text puts you through is truly impossible. Intoxicated with authentic poetry, enveloped with the scent of Jasmine and engrossed with beautiful prose, this body of work, takes you to places CNN, FOX and the rest of the mainstream media grossly fail to capture. When reading the text I was reminded of the great Chinua Achebe and his life and works. One of the most influe Just finished reading 'Stripped to the Bone' by Ghada Al Atrash Janbey for the second time. Trying to encapsulate the journey this text puts you through is truly impossible. Intoxicated with authentic poetry, enveloped with the scent of Jasmine and engrossed with beautiful prose, this body of work, takes you to places CNN, FOX and the rest of the mainstream media grossly fail to capture. When reading the text I was reminded of the great Chinua Achebe and his life and works. One of the most influential and impactful quotes in my life (in literature and beyond) is: I tell my students, it's not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What's more difficult is to identify with someone you don't see, who's very far away, who's a different color, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders. - Chinua Achebe This quote, these words, are the foundation of not only my teaching practices, but my life in general. In reading 'Stripped to the Bone', one is brought face-to face with the horrors, reality and wonders of the female Syrian experience. One is given the opportunity to attempt to identify with the Syrian Woman experience and while of a different colour, faith and / or gender, one is able to see themselves, reflected in the faces and the eyes of the stranger. Buy it. Read it. Appreciate it. Reflect upon it. And let it add to your ever-growing knowledge of what it is to Be - whatever it is that you are. There is NO such thing as THE experience but rather, a fabric of experienceS, woven together and left for us all to unravel, explore and be consumed by. The more willing you are, the more rich you become.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Henk-Jan van der Klis

    Ghada Alatrash features Syrian women still living in their home country as well as ones that traded the war zone for a safer place like Canada or the U.S. Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women has prose as well as poetry. Fictional portraits, however, true to life of tortured women, a woman that chooses to stay unmarried because she only wants to marry a man whom she loves, a Christian that is forced to flee Syria, but cannot import typical Syrian herbs to the U.S., women dealing with Ghada Alatrash features Syrian women still living in their home country as well as ones that traded the war zone for a safer place like Canada or the U.S. Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women has prose as well as poetry. Fictional portraits, however, true to life of tortured women, a woman that chooses to stay unmarried because she only wants to marry a man whom she loves, a Christian that is forced to flee Syria, but cannot import typical Syrian herbs to the U.S., women dealing with a lost son or a homosexual one. Issues like these stir raw emotions of love and passion, despair, courage, and resilience. What is the meaning of a homeland? Would you stay or leave? It is an exercise of freedom where women are stripped down to the skin, no layers; it is a celebration of womanhood, of a God-given exhilarating femininity, and it is delightfully liberating, according to the author, who's strongly inspired by the poetry of artists like Nizar Qabbani, Khalil Gibran, Mahmoud Darwish, and Naomi Shibab Nye, as well as flowers, herbs, and Arabic expressions much more fine-tuned to express certain feelings and emotions than English or French. The author pinpoints at political and religious motives to initiate and continue the destabilizing wars within Syria, without playing a blame game. The rather short book (176 pages) is packed with female strength and inspiration,

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roslyn K

    I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was an incredibly emotional book. Most of the focus of each story was interior: the characters' self-definitions, thoughts, emotions, and what it meant for them to feel "stripped to the bone." As such, there was relatively little actual plot in each story. The effect was most like a snapshot of a certain time, place, and emotion. Transitions in action were therefore often disjointed and the focus of a certain section could jum I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was an incredibly emotional book. Most of the focus of each story was interior: the characters' self-definitions, thoughts, emotions, and what it meant for them to feel "stripped to the bone." As such, there was relatively little actual plot in each story. The effect was most like a snapshot of a certain time, place, and emotion. Transitions in action were therefore often disjointed and the focus of a certain section could jump from one place or thought to another, which lent itself to a kind of stream of consciousness feeling. Some of the descriptions felt almost hyperbolic in their intensity and the heavy use of similes and metaphors, but that might just be a difference in literary taste between the author and I. I did enjoy the choice of poetry in the chapter epigraphs. They provided yet more Syrian voices as a means of setting the stage for each new chapter. As a whole, this was a wonderful, heartbreaking, and occasionally horrifying (there are descriptions of torture in the second story) book that provides a glimpse into the minds and hearts of a number of Syrian women, both in Syria and abroad, and their relationships to their country and themselves.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gazala

    This is a fictional portrait of 7 Syrian women. It talks about how the war has impacted the lives of Syrians, especially women and takes one on a journey of life ,survival ,love and courage. Each story is more beautiful than the other and I cannot pick a favourite.. each story is first described via a poem by very amazing poets like Kahlil Gibran etc and then the story is told. The writing is simple and appealing and touches upon delicate issues that haunt our Society... talking about femininity This is a fictional portrait of 7 Syrian women. It talks about how the war has impacted the lives of Syrians, especially women and takes one on a journey of life ,survival ,love and courage. Each story is more beautiful than the other and I cannot pick a favourite.. each story is first described via a poem by very amazing poets like Kahlil Gibran etc and then the story is told. The writing is simple and appealing and touches upon delicate issues that haunt our Society... talking about femininity , love , desire , courage and bravery ..it talks about how the loss of loved ones and their homes is a heart wrenching experience. It takes upon itself to show us the hypocrisy we live it , and how every day thousands of innocents are paying a price for no mistake of theirs around the world. THOUGH it's written as an ode to Syrian women ,I think it is applicable to every women suffering in every war torn place and places that suffocate women with their ridiculous ideologies.. A very enjoyable quick read ❤

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fajriy

    I won a copy of this book in a LibraryThing's program. Seven pieces of stories about Syrian women's lives with poems, song lyrics, and words of wisdom. The feeling of reading this book is difficult to put into words. Every poem and song lyric are beautifully written and carefully chosen to convey the message of the story to be told. The simple but captivating writing style is best to awaken the readers into emotions from tears into laughter. There are desire, passion, love, torment, sorrow, happin I won a copy of this book in a LibraryThing's program. Seven pieces of stories about Syrian women's lives with poems, song lyrics, and words of wisdom. The feeling of reading this book is difficult to put into words. Every poem and song lyric are beautifully written and carefully chosen to convey the message of the story to be told. The simple but captivating writing style is best to awaken the readers into emotions from tears into laughter. There are desire, passion, love, torment, sorrow, happiness, and so much more. All mixed in this must read book. Short but hard to put down. For those who still read poems and short stories, this book is for you. (Note: some contents may not appropriate for younger readers.)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joan Cobb

    I won this book through the GoodReads early reviewer program and am happy that I got it. When I selected it, I was concerned that this would be distressing reading. We get enough of the destruction of Syria on TV. This novel brings us into the thoughts, aspirations, griefs and loves of seven Syrian or Syrian/Canadian/American women. It is enhanced with Middle Eastern poetry and excellent definitions of any Arabic words. It is a reminder that this civil war is happening to real people and is not I won this book through the GoodReads early reviewer program and am happy that I got it. When I selected it, I was concerned that this would be distressing reading. We get enough of the destruction of Syria on TV. This novel brings us into the thoughts, aspirations, griefs and loves of seven Syrian or Syrian/Canadian/American women. It is enhanced with Middle Eastern poetry and excellent definitions of any Arabic words. It is a reminder that this civil war is happening to real people and is not just a set of statistics about bombs dropped and numbers killed. I will remember this book for a long time and will strongly recommend it to my friends. In fact, I know I will read it again.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Mardel

    Stripped to the bone: portraits of Syrian women by Ghada Alatrash. I had to take two sittings to read this as I found it quite soul-destroying. At the same time the author lets us into the heartache of Syria with her seven fictional portraits of these women. One loses a son while he is doing his exams at university, another loses her homeland as Christians are being persecuted. In all, the reader learns about the Eastern way. Thanks to LibraryThing and Petra Books for a complimentary copy for rev Stripped to the bone: portraits of Syrian women by Ghada Alatrash. I had to take two sittings to read this as I found it quite soul-destroying. At the same time the author lets us into the heartache of Syria with her seven fictional portraits of these women. One loses a son while he is doing his exams at university, another loses her homeland as Christians are being persecuted. In all, the reader learns about the Eastern way. Thanks to LibraryThing and Petra Books for a complimentary copy for review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stefani

    Ghada -- 'Stripped to the Bone' is wonderful. I truly loved it...through tears and heartwrenching breathlessness...mixed with soaring love-filled emotions...I read and read, and your moving words are now inside of me forever. So many heartfelt stories - your amazing compassionate spirit comes through during the entire composition. You are a voice to bless the world with enlightenment and love. xo Ghada -- 'Stripped to the Bone' is wonderful. I truly loved it...through tears and heartwrenching breathlessness...mixed with soaring love-filled emotions...I read and read, and your moving words are now inside of me forever. So many heartfelt stories - your amazing compassionate spirit comes through during the entire composition. You are a voice to bless the world with enlightenment and love. xo

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This book struck me from the first pages as inspiringly innovative, creative, gorgeous poetry and prose, with gripping images and stories of recent Syrian refugee experiences. Its a unique approach to historical fiction that gives broad, deep, poetic, brief images of individual lives. One aspect of the book that I loved is its light non-intrusive though insistent education of the reader in Syrian culture and language! One of the best books I've read in a decade. This book struck me from the first pages as inspiringly innovative, creative, gorgeous poetry and prose, with gripping images and stories of recent Syrian refugee experiences. Its a unique approach to historical fiction that gives broad, deep, poetic, brief images of individual lives. One aspect of the book that I loved is its light non-intrusive though insistent education of the reader in Syrian culture and language! One of the best books I've read in a decade.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather Janbay

    What a beautifully written book of stories that touches on every human emotion. Ghada has revealed the beauty and suffering that we all experience, through the voices of Syrian women. Memories of childhood, forbidden love, motherhood, loss, disappointment, self-discovery and more...all of this told in a such a way that reading the words takes on a life of its own. Get lost in the stories and find yourself feeling closer to all humanity.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Yara

    A must read - I could not put this book down until the very last page. The author's beautiful words have awakened my nostalgia and touched every part of my heart and soul. Every story in her book brought tears to my eyes. Tears of suffering and pain with some, and tears of nostalgia and love with others. Her words aroused all kinds of emotions in my Syrian heart. Can't wait to read more books! A must read - I could not put this book down until the very last page. The author's beautiful words have awakened my nostalgia and touched every part of my heart and soul. Every story in her book brought tears to my eyes. Tears of suffering and pain with some, and tears of nostalgia and love with others. Her words aroused all kinds of emotions in my Syrian heart. Can't wait to read more books!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Adriana Wild

    Once I started this book, I couldn't stop until I finished reading it. It flows nicely and the stories of women are powerful and touching. This book gave insight into the plight of Syrian women, and will touch the reader's heart. I definitely recommend this book as one to read. Once I started this book, I couldn't stop until I finished reading it. It flows nicely and the stories of women are powerful and touching. This book gave insight into the plight of Syrian women, and will touch the reader's heart. I definitely recommend this book as one to read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    The loved to book, the stories, the writing. The one thing I hated was the covering, I don't know what it is with some book covers, they have this disgusting greasy feel to the cover. It was not stained or dirty, its something I've encountered before and I can barely stand to hold it, ugh!! The loved to book, the stories, the writing. The one thing I hated was the covering, I don't know what it is with some book covers, they have this disgusting greasy feel to the cover. It was not stained or dirty, its something I've encountered before and I can barely stand to hold it, ugh!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gina Schwartz

    I enjoyed these stories. Each giving a different perspective of the heartbreak and grief existing in Syria. Very heartfelt and moving.

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