Al Hawadeth for Arab Americans

اليوم :
  • :
  • :

BOOKS Reviews by Brenda Repland

Publish Date: 5/8/2020 8:51:56 PM

GODDESS of YANTAI, Review by Brenda Repland

 

Forensic accountant Ava Lee attends the premiere of her lover Pan Fai’s latest film,
“Mao’s Daughter” in Beijing.  After the screening, Fai opens up to Ava about her situation.  She is being blackmailed by senior officials of the China Movie Syndicate.  They seek certain “favors” in order to continue supporting Fai’s career and films.  When she resists, the threats turn violent.

 

The tawdry world of Chinese film making is new to Ava but she is determined to help Fai extricate herself from the threats.  Not only will she have to deal with the Syndicate but also grasp the restraints imposed on the film industry by the Communist Chinese government as well.

 

 

 

 

A WOMAN of NO IMPORTANCE Review by Brenda Repland

 

 

Through her extensive research, author Sonia Purnell has uncovered – for the first time – the untold story of Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who, through sheer determination, talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the British spy organization responsible for countless acts of warfare during WWII.

 

Her mother had other plans for her daughter, but Virginia was not to be deterred.  She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines.  She would not let “Cuthbert,” her prosthetic leg, slow her down in any way. 

 

She established vast spy networks throughout France, arranged for clandestine air drops of all manner of supplies (egs. food, money, explosives +++) and coordinated training and execution of guerilla tactics to rattle and deter the Nazis. 

 

She first did this in Lyon where the infamous Klaus Barbie (“The Butcher of Lyon”) was headquartered. 

 

In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission:  “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies.  We must find and destroy her.”

 

When her cover was blown, she escaped over the Pyrenees into Spain.  But not for long.  She was insistent about returning to France where she was ultimately credited with liberating great swathes of the country from the Nazis after D-Day.

 

She accomplished all this in spite of unrelenting prejudice against women in the field.  Time and again she was asked to report to younger and inexperienced men who resented taking orders from a woman. When she made suggestions for further useful assignments, they were received by her superiors as “fine ideas” and assigned to male officers to carry out.

 

When the war was over and she evolved into the CIA, this pattern continued.  It was noted that at the CIA, “women with husbands (which Virginia now had) were thought to be less reliable.”

The CIA later admitted that “fellow officers felt she had been sidelined . . .because she had so much experience that overshadowed her male colleagues.”

 

(Today, Virginia is officially recognized by the CIA as an unqualified heroine of the war, whose career at the agency was held back by frustrations with superiors who did not use her talents well.)

 

In 2006, France and Britain celebrated Virginia’s life in a ceremony at the French ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC.  The ambassador read a letter of homage from then-President Jacques Chirac, honoring her as an “American friend” of France.  It was the first time the country had publicly acknowledged her as a “true hero of the French Resistance.”

 

 

 

 

THE STATIONERY SHOP Review by Brenda Repland

 

This poignant novel takes place initially during the political trauma of Tehran, Iran in 1953, as the country is torn by competing politics over who will be their leader.  Can the Shah survive a rumored plot to overthrow him in a coup?

 

Into this turmoil, two young people find solace in the peaceful atmosphere of Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood stationery shop.  Roya is naïve about the political situation but Bahman is driven by his zeal of justice.

 

As the revolution heats up and romance blooms, Roya comes to understand Mr. Fakhri’s not-so-innocent role in clandestine communication.

 

On the eve of their marriage, Roya and Bahman are to meet in the town square but violence  -- resulting from the coup d’état – changes both the country’s future and that of the young couple.

 

Sixty years later, in what can only be fate, Roya and Bahman meet again, this time in America.  The unanswered questions which had separated them, can now be answered. 

 

Ms. Kamali captures the very essence of a country out of control when revolution strikes.  We see how trauma can, in effect, make way for deep resonances. 

Read Too

ماهي حكاية علاء الدين الأسطورية ومن انتجها ؟The Tale of Aladdin and the Magic Lantern

English version is below حكاية علاء الدين والفانوس السحري تروي العديد من الكتب والمجلات القصة على هذا النحو: "يُحكى في قديم الزمان أنّه كان هناك شاب فقير اسمه علاء الدين، وله عم يتصف بالطمع والأنانية، ولا يُحب الخير لغيره. وفي يوم من الأيام ذهب علاء الدين إلى عمه كي يُساعده على البحث عن الكنز الموجود داخل المغارة السحرية، وعندما نزل إلى المغارة لينتشل الكنز منها أغلق باب المغارة بشكل مُفاجئ،...

لا أحد صغير على إحداث الفرق. No one is too small to make a difference

بقلم الدكتورة غادة زهير ابو كويك ب The English version follows بالأمس أردت الإستقالة، تسلل الي شعور الهزيمة. أحسست انني قد استنفدت اثناء سنوات العمل الشاق وخاصة خلال الجائحة. أنا اتوق لقضاء بعض الوقت مع عائلتي، لم اعد أستمتع بالأشياء الصغيرة في الحياة بعد الآن. هذا الصباح، جررت نفسي إلى الصيدلية. كانت قائمة البريد الإلكتروني طويلة لدرجة أنني كدت انفجر باكية. ظلت المهام ترد وتتراك...

Dr. Lubna Farah Supervises M. Phil Thesis on Short Stories of Sanaa Shaalan in Pakistan

Pakistan/Islamabad: Renown Pakistani university teacher and state translator-cum-interpreter Dr. Lubna Farah has supervised an M. Phil thesis on Short Stories of Sanaa Shaalan in Pakistan, while the topic was selected to be main theme of one specialized dissertation for the Translation Studies because she has passion for the Arabic literature and translation in diverse languages. The sai...

ng “So Close, Much Farther” for Sanaa Shalan

Publishi AHawadeth - Amman /Jordan: Issued by Amwaj House for Publishing and Distribution Issued by the author Dr. Sanaa Shalan, is a book in the English language entitled: (So Close, Much Farther: Studies in Criticism). It is 143 pages long and contains three chapters, the first with a title: (Sexual motivation as a tool to incriminate women in the story of: The Scheming of Women and T...

Madness of The Q

Review by Brenda Repland Mathematics Professor Sam Teagarden returns in Gray Basnight’s latest thriller when he becomes embroiled in another decoding mission. This one involves a secret document unearthed in northern Israel. The ancient parchment is called the “Q Document” for the German word quelle, meaning “source.” It has the power to generate strong and often ...

Mountain Master of Sha Tin Review by Brenda Repland

Mountain Master of Sha Tin Review by Brenda Repland Ava Lee has gone to Shanghai to visit her friend Mountain Master Xu, (a Triad position). Xu is seriously ill with meningitis. While Xu is incapacitated, and with Ava in Shanghai, a Triad war breaks out in Hong Kong. Instigating the war is Sammy Wing, along with his nephew, Carter. Their goal: reclaim Xu’s old territor...

BELGRAVIA BY JULIAN FELLOWES

Review by Brenda Repland Julian Fellowes, author of Downton Abbey, has written another stunner about English aristocracy. This time it is set in the early 19th century and follows the often-devastating repercussions that will haunt some of those attending the Duchess of Richmond’s ball, held on the evening before the Battle of Waterloo. Many of the young men at the ball will be...

MOLTEN MUD MURDER by Sara E. Johnson

Review by Brenda Repland This mystery takes us to New Zealand and the Lake Rotorua region. Famous for its geothermal wonderlands, the area will be ground zero for a new investigation when a corpse is found half-submerged in a molten pot. Forensics expert and odontologist Alexa Glock has been visiting NZ and would like to stay longer. She finds the opportunity when she realizes that t...

The Lost Future Of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pully

Review by Brenda Repland Natasha Pulley’s Watchmaker of Filigree Street captivated readers with its charming blend of historical fiction and fantasy. Now, Pulley revisits her beloved characters in a sequel that sweeps readers off to Japan in the 1880s, where nationalism is on the rise and ghosts roam the streets. 1888. Five years after they met in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, ...

The Girl who Lived Twice by David Lagercratz

Review by Brenda Repland In this, the sixth Lisbeth Salander story in the Millennium Series, Mikael Blomkvist is again drawn into a mystery which he will need Lisbeth’s help to solve. A hobo has died with Blomkvist’s phone number in his pocket. It’s impossible to identify him as he doesn’t seem to exist in any official records. His last words suggest that ...

BOOKS Reviews by Brenda Repland

GODDESS of YANTAI, Review by Brenda Repland Forensic accountant Ava Lee attends the premiere of her lover Pan Fai’s latest film, “Mao’s Daughter” in Beijing. After the screening, Fai opens up to Ava about her situation. She is being blackmailed by senior officials of the China Movie Syndicate. They seek certain “favors” in order to continue supporting Fa...

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Review by Brenda Repland This week, Lyrics & Lyricists at the 92nd Street Y featured a program dedicated to the late lyricist, Yip Harburg who wrote (mostly show tunes) for more than forty composers during the 30’s and 40’s. Many of his pieces were collaborations with Harold Arlen and Burton Lane. His lyrics often reflected the effects o...

The Vanishing Man -Review by Brenda Repland

The Vanishing Man A Charles Lenox Mystery By Charles Finch Review by Brenda Repland The Vanishing Man is a prequel to the Charles Lenox Victorian series. In this case, the theft of a Duke’s antique ancestral painting sends Detective Lenox on the hunt for a criminal mastermind. In 1853, the Duke of Dorset calls upon (the recently-praised-for-his-investigative-skills) Charles Lenox...

Sins as Scarlet By Nicolás Obregǿn

Review by Brenda Repland Kosuka Iwata has left both his job as detective for the Tokyo Police Department and his country, moving to Los Angeles. He is now established as a private investigator. He won’t have long to wait for a new murder investigation to find him. He is hired by an old contact whose daughter has been murdered. It seems to have turned into a cold case, b...

More...