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"As a blizzard blankets the northeast United States, burying residents and shutting down airports, the Zaydan family eagerly awaits the arrival of Eva, a cousin visiting from Lebanon after a long separation from the family. Over the course of one day, while Eva is stranded in New York City, Chehade’s nuanced story unfolds in the reminiscences and anxieties of each family member.

Emilie, the matriarch of this Lebanese American family, lives in a world of voluntary silence. Barely able to read and write in English and refusing to speak for the last several years, she immerses herself in her garden and leaves elaborately cooked meals anonymously for her solitary neighbor. Emilie’s oldest daughter Josephine, middle aged and still living with her mother and married brother, struggles to gain her independence and prepare for the arrival of her cousin, whose impending visit has reawakened conflicting emotions. Young Marie, Emilie’s granddaughter, is stifled by her conservative family and determined to study at Berkeley and to leave behind her immigrant identity. All three are drawn to their mysterious neighbor, nicknamed Loom, whose loneliness and isolation mirror their own and kindle within each woman a desire to make a connection. When Emilie takes off during the blizzard in the direction of Loom’s house and the rest of the family follows her, their act is both an escape and a reaching out. Beautifully written and alive with vivid portraits, Chehade's novel is both heartfelt and wise."


Syracuse Univesity Press


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We Walked On

Set during Lebanon's civil war, We Walked On immerses readers in the landscape of war, weaving political unrest into everyday life. With Rita, a fourteen-year-old girl, and Hisham, her thirty-year-old Arabic teacher, the novel introduces two richly drawn characters who counter violence with the redemptive power of books and human connection and find authentic hope in untenable circumstances. We Walked On is a timely novel about what it's like to live in a war zone, how war corrupts our moral sense, and how to survive and endure in an unjust world.

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We Walked On