The last page, the last paragraph, the last sentence of a book matter a lot to me. (For all of us, of course!) 🙂 In the recent past, I loved the way Of Human Bondage, The Graveyard Book, Wild, and Neverwhere ended. When I read the final words, I was content, elated, but there was a lump in my throat. I wondered: Why does a perfect ending make me feel different? Why am I happy, yet slightly melancholic? I was glad for the protagonists, but I was crestfallen, for the books ended. The bittersweet feeling was incredibly intense when I finished reading Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman.
I was already 10 minutes late to work. But I couldn’t bring myself to get ready. I wanted to stay with Aaliya, the heroine of An Unnecessary Woman, because the last few pages were insanely beautiful. This book of Alameddine might be considered self-indulgent by some. But I found it so magnificent that I even chose to be a bit late to work. Only to leave home with the satisfaction of finishing this gem. 😉
Aaliya, the septuagenarian, from Beirut is strikingly unconventional. Technically, the childless divorcee lives alone. But, she is always in the company of great writers, and their tomes. The woman, who is a sucker for rituals, begins translating a book on the 1st of January every year. After having retired as a shop-keeper at a bookstore, Aaliya spends all her time only by reading and translating.
As she allows the reader to understand her daily rituals by offering the most elaborate account, she reflects on her childhood, her failed relationships with her mother and husband, her heartwarming friendship with her sister-in-law Hannah, her queer connect with Ahamed, and her bottomless love for reading.
While I loved everything about An Unnecessary Woman, Hannah seemed extraordinary to me. I became more attentive whenever Aaliya related Hannah’s moving story. Some women refuse to accept defeat. Come what may. They keep their head high, and continue to battle with indomitable spirits. Hannah was one. To a great extent. As much as Hannah inspired me, she also made me cry. What a mad woman! (I don’t want to say anything more about Hannah and spoil the story for you. She was just amazing.) ❤
An Unnecessary Woman is a tribute to those who always carry a book. To those whose to-be-reads list is unconquerable. To those who always read the recently-bought book despite owning a huge pile of to-be-read. To those who breach their budget-rules every month just to buy that one extra book. To those whose books are wet by tears. To those who love the delivery guys. To those who draw pleasure by running their hands on jackets. To those who experience a transient emptiness in life after finishing a brilliant book. To those whose lives revolve around books. An Unnecessary Woman is a tribute to us.