The Old Woman and the River

The Old Woman and the River

Publishing House: Interlink Books

Publication Year: 2019

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 160

“The Old Woman and the River” by Ismail Fahd Ismail is a poignant narrative set against the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq War in 1980. Sabiliyat villagers, led by Um Qasem, receive military orders to evacuate their village immediately. Laden with belongings, they journey north to Najaf, seeking refuge with heavy hearts. Tragedy strikes when Um Qasem’s husband unexpectedly dies, leaving her to face the challenges of their new life alone.

Two years into their displacement, overwhelmed by an intense longing for her home, Um Qasem makes a daring decision. Um Qasem, in the quiet night, saddles Good Omen, embarking on a perilous journey home. Returning, she finds her village transformed into a military barracks, scarred by conflict. The war’s impact is evident not only on the structures but also on the natural environment: rivers are constrained, and the once-fertile fields are parched and dying.

Ismail’s narrative is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the life-affirming strength of women. The story unfolds as a tale of hope and the limitless possibilities within the human soul. The story navigates the fine line between reality and fantasy, suggesting that the impossible might, in fact, be within reach. Told in a language of mesmerizing simplicity, the novel connects readers intimately with the land and sky of Um Qasem’s cherished world. It stirs a deep yearning to comprehend miracles and the human spirit’s power to overcome adversity. “The Old Woman and the River” is not just a story about survival; it is a celebration of the enduring human capacity for renewal and rejuvenation, even in times of great turmoil.

Read More About Ismail Fahd Ismail

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