Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi, Translation by Marilyn Booth, Read by Raghad Chaar
A Mesmerizing Poetic Novel
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Narrator Raghad Chaar’s performance of Bitter Orange Tree is mesmerizing. Host Jo Reed and AudioFile’s Alan Minskoff discuss the music in Chaar’s voice as she narrates Jokha Alharthi’s nonlinear novel. Her delivery of the many Arabic words and passages intensifies it, and her deft pacing and cadence give form to the memories and experiences that create the plot. The novel ties together the past life of the solitary narrator, a student named Zuhoor, and the vivid remembrances of her grandmother, Beit Amin. The author, winner of the Man Booker Prize, writes lyrically about the lives of women and girls in traditional societies. The listener comes away bathed in the poetry.