In Books: When The Storms Descend
by Rana Asfour
Yesterday, I drove right into the eye of the UAE thunderstorm. I remember distinctly the exact moment my tiny car and I were embraced into the bosom of what has been dubbed as one of the worst storms the country has ever seen. As I, in horror, watched a metal corrugated sheet fly past my windshield, missing my car by inches, I was simultaneously being calmed by my thirteen-year-old holding the fort at home, moving furniture away from the water that had gushed in from every window in the house.
Now that all's well, many memorable floods, thunderstorms and rainy weather have been popping up in my mind that have stood out for me in books I've read recently and not so recently as well. I'm sure you've got loads more in mind. You know what to do: Share share share in the comments section! stay dry :)
The story of one woman, Emerence, who lives life by her own set of rules. A thunderstorm at the beginning of the book changes her life forever. A powerful, strong read about what it means to be human and the price some pay when they open their private life to let in others.
'An Unnecessary Woman' by Rabih Alameddine
This is the story of seventy-one-year-old Aliyya Saleh, who lives alone in Beirut surrounded by her favourite books. Aaliya views her life and complicated past shaped by the Lebanese Civil War through classic works of literature by Sebald, Coetzee, Pessoa and Schulz. She translates and yet her translations have never been seen by anyone. When the floods come calling, they bring along the most cathartic ending.
'The House of Mapuhi' by Jack London - A Short Story
A short story that represents the 'man against the nature' theme. The descriptions of the hurricane the survival in its aftermath are beautiful, powerful yet equally chilling and terrifying in an alternate vein. It is available as a free ebook. So, do check it out.
'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck
It's all about the dust storm. After a period of great drought one June, rain clouds appear, but instead of bringing rain, the clouds disappear, leaving great winds in their wake. Shocking and controversial when it was first published, 'The Grapes of Wrath' is Steinbeck's Pultizer Prize-winning epic of the Joad family, forced to travel west from Dust Bowl era Oklahoma in search of the promised land of California. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and powerlessness, yet out of their struggle Steinbeck created a drama that is both intensely human and majestic in its scale and moral vision.
'Zeitoun' by Dave Eggers
The true story of one American family and what happens to the head of its family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home. Told with eloquence and compassion, 'Zeitoun' is a riveting account of one family’s unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.
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