Aaliya lives alone with her books - books she has collected over a lifetime, books she translates into Arabic with no likelihood that they will ever be read. With her accidentally blue-dyed hair, her cantankerous dealings with her neighbours and her difficult relationship with her family, Aaliya is a character you will never forget.
An Unnecessary Woman is a sublime novel, a love letter to literature and its power to define who we are.
Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels Koolaids, I, the Divine and The Hakawati, the story collection, The Perv, and most recently, An Unnecessary Woman. He divides his time between San Francisco and Beirut.
'An Unnecessary Woman dramatises a wonderful mind at play...filled with intelligence, sharpness and strange memories and regrets...And over all this fiercely original act of creation is the sky of Beirut throwing down a light which is both comic and tragic, alert to its own history and to its mythology, guarding over human frailty and the idea of the written word with love and wit and understanding and a rare sort of wisdom.' Colm Toibin
'Alameddine's storytelling is rich with a bookish humor that's accessible without being condescending...A gemlike and surprisingly lively study of an interior life.' Kirkus Reviews
'Studded with quotations and succinct observations, this remarkable novel by Alameddine is a paean to fiction, poetry, and female friendship. Dip into it, make a reading list from it, or simply bask in its sharp, smart prose.' Booklist