To Adore Life

To Adore Life Cover

Author: Alawiya Sobh

Publishing House: Dar Al Adab

Publication Year: 2020

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 352

The novel “To Adore Life” narrates the struggle of an Arab woman whose sufferings mirror those of her society. Between despair and hope, the author Alawiya Sobh refuses to surrender, confronting extremism, injustice, poverty, and illness. It’s a novel that is both angry and peaceful, telling the story of a woman waging a feminine war against ugliness and emerging victorious.

Lebanese writer Alawiya Sobh, in her novel “To Adore Life,” focuses on the severe pains contained within the body, paralleling the devastation and wounds left by wars raging around us, allowing the body to merge with its surroundings through characters who assume various roles about love, nostalgia, and death.

“Basma,” the main character who serves as the narrator, expresses what has befallen her body, which she dedicated to be an instrument of joy in dance and a clear image of her dreams and ever-threatened disappointments.

Like Alawiya Sobh’s previous novels, “To Adore Life” employs a direct address style. Through it, she presents an autobiographical narrative about her illness. She continues her playful challenge to a grim reality she experienced as a child and witnessed in adulthood, amalgamating characters through which she emphasizes this personal and objective linkage in narrating the biography. This confluence between her illness and the Arab disintegration around her is demonstrated by the narrator, Basma.

At the beginning of “To Adore Life,” the author dedicates her novel to Dr. Paul Bejjani, her physician who “brought back to me life, love, and writing.” In the novel, this doctor becomes a fictional character who treats the protagonist Basma, an expressive dancer who, like Alawiya, suffered from spasms in her face and body that incapacitated her for years.

“To Adore Life” is not an autobiography of Alawiya Sobh. While aspects of every writer’s life inevitably seep into their novels, the specific conditions related to Basma’s health mirror Alawiya’s own battle with a neurological disease, her medical experiences during the civil war, and her childhood illnesses. Beyond that, it’s among Alawiya’s most imaginative works, intertwining her health narrative with Basma’s, representing rather than just intersecting with it, but it is not a biography.

The language in “To Adore Life” is smooth, flowing, and natural, a contemplative language that illuminates the inner darkness, searching for a penetrating ray of light that manifests as the author chooses to have her protagonist triumph for life. The novel adopts a core idea linked to modern therapeutic theories that affirm the “self-healing” ability to cure the body of its ailments and diseases.

Read More About Alawiya Sobh

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