School, sisters, cooking, cleaning… these were the most exciting activities of Leila’s childhood in a village in Dera’a, in southern Syria. She grew up expecting that her parents would eventually choose a nice local boy for her to marry, which would define the rest of her life. When Leila was accepted to study English Literature at the University of Damascus, everything changed. A whole new world opened to her through the literature she was reading, and then she started making new friends. Roxy, a fiery young woman who had married a wealthy man without telling her family. Huda, who was ready to sacrifice absolutely everything for her career. Maha, who seemed to have it all. And Ahmed, who swept Leila off her feet. As her world expanded, Leila began to believe that she, too, might write her own destiny.
Cover image by artist Suhair Sibai.
What readers have said so far:
"In a world where the media tends to blow everything out of proportion and skew our perspective, finally, there is an engaging story that shows the real-person side of young people in Syria--Dreams in the Medina."
"This is an amazingly accurate, insightful, and forbidden-feeling peek into the lives, thoughts and aspirations of female university students in Damascus."
"The story-telling is terrific. I felt that I was right there!"
Customer ReviewsSee All
I have always loved reading books that pull you in as if you are present with all that is going on. Dreams in the Medina did that. It was hard to put down. It is a must read. It really opens your eyes to the culture in Syria through university students in Damascus. You begin to laugh out of joy, cry out of sadness and learn so much of what daily life and customs are like in the Middle East. Download it today.
Dreams in the Medina
We often think of the exotic, cross-road cities of the Middle East as robust and durable. Indeed, the iron gates and strait-laced culture of the Medina that Woronka reveals suggest an impenetrable permanence. Yet the lives behind those gates are anything but fixed. Through this sensitive and insightful novel, we are taken into a world almost exclusively hidden from the gaze of men and the West. We become privy to the hopes, abuses, aspirations, and fears that bind modern young Syrian women in their ancient home. From the wispy smoke of hookah to the gossamer veils that wrap their lithe bodies as they dance, this ephemeral world is anything but solid.
There is no better moment to behold this fragile reality, as it is swiftly disappearing. Doubtless, it may already be gone.