Monia Mazigh’s Hope Has Two Daughter

By Monia Mazigh, translated by Fred A. Reed Arachnide, 296 pages, $22.95

Monia Mazigh’s latest novel takes readers through a cycle of hope, uprising, despair and hope again in a story of two girls awakened by civil unrest.

Hope Has Two Daughters opens in 1984: Nadia nears completing her lycée studies when the bread riots rock Tunisia and rent the fabric of Nadia’s stable but restrictive upbringing.

Jump to 2010: Nadia’s daughter Lila, born and raised in Ottawa, reluctantly takes a gap year to learn Arabic in Tunis. Lila is uninterested in her mother’s city until she learns of a new protest movement ready to erupt.

As Mazigh alternates between 1984 and 2010, both Nadia and Lila are in their late teens, both sheltered in their own way: Nadia by state repression and familial conservatism; Lila by her expectations from having grown up in a free society.

Mazigh’s narration is true to these characters: they’re young and naive.

It’s in seeing Nadia in middle age that reveals the full significance of the Arab Spring.

The Globe and Mail

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