Nathalie Abi-Ezzi - A Girl Made of Dust

A Girl Made of Dust - Nathalie Abi-Ezzi

The problems with child narrators is that they need to be authentic, because the reader wants to believe the story is told by an eight year old but at the same time the reader doesn't want to feel that the book was actually written by an eight year old. Here lies the catch-22, the book needs to be told by an eight year old but written by an adult.

Many authors resort to writing simple sentences and just dumbing down everything but that's not the way, of course. Nathalie Abi-Ezzi didn't fall into this trap. Her writing is exquisite but it is not done at cost of authenticity of her eight year old narrator, Ruba. Abi-Ezzie managed to capture the world as it is perceived by a child. There is a thin line between the real and the fantasy and the logical order of causes and consequences is often muddled.

We follow Ruba as she is trying to save her family in the midst of the civil war in Lebanon. Her father stopped speaking and caring for the world and spends most of his time sitting in his armchair and staring into space. Her mother cleans and cooks, cleans and cooks, as if afraid that if she stops she might realize the ruin that her family has come to. And her brother has secrets.

It is a beautiful story that analyses the madness of a civil war in a very interesting way. It raises an important question if you can (and should) lead a normal life when the world around you is falling apart. If you like poetic imagery and ephemeral style you should give "A Girl Made of Dust" a go.