The Bamboo Stalk


Publishing House: Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing

Publication Year: 2015

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 377

The Bamboo Stalk explores identity, race, and social stratification in Kuwait and the Philippines.

Traveling from the Philippines to Kuwait as a domestic helper, Josephine encounters Rashid, an indulged yet compassionate child. Carried away by youthful optimism, she believes she’s found her soulmate.

However, her life undergoes a dramatic turn when she becomes pregnant. In the escalating tensions due to the Gulf War, Rashid deserts her, consequently sending her back to the Philippines with their newborn, José.

Growing up in the Philippines, José grapples with his mixed heritage, holding onto the dream of one day returning to his father’s homeland when he becomes an adult.

Yet, he wonders if Kuwait will accept him, or if his Kuwaiti family will ease his feelings of displacement. José’s journey of self-discovery engages the reader as he wrestles with his existential dilemmas.

Exceptionally crafted, The Bamboo Stalk won the 2013 International Prize for Arab Fiction, celebrated for its literary elegance and exploration of “social and humanitarian” themes. Through intricate characters, Alsanousi courageously tackles the subjects of identity, estrangement, and the experiences of expatriate laborers in Arab nations.

Joseph’s upbringing in the Philippines is marked by the challenges of navigating his mixed heritage. Fueled by the dream of returning to his father’s homeland as an adult, he grapples with the complexities of identity.

The question lingers—will Kuwait accept him, and can his Kuwaiti family alleviate his sense of displacement? José’s journey of self-discovery unfolds against the backdrop of his existential dilemmas, captivating readers with the intricacies of his narrative.

Read More About Saud Alsanousi

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