Planet of clay

Samar Yazbik

Book - 2021

"An ode to fantasy and beauty in the midst of war-torn Damascus. Rima, a young girl from Damascus, longs to walk, to be free to follow the will of her feet, but instead is perpetually constrained. She finds refuge in a fantasy world full of colored crayons, secret planets, and The Little Prince, reciting passages of the Qur'an like a mantra as everything and everyone around her is blown to bits. Since Rima hardly ever speaks, people think she's crazy, but she is no fool--the madne...ss is in the battered city around her. One day while taking a bus through Damascus, a soldier opens fire and her mother is killed. Rima, wounded, is taken to a military hospital before her brother leads her to the besieged area of Ghouta--where, between bombings, she writes her story. In Planet of Clay, Samar Yazbek offers a surreal depiction of the horrors taking place Syria, in vivid and poetic language and with a sharp eye for detail and beauty."--

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FICTION/Yazbik Samar
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Yazbik Samar Due Aug 29, 2022
Subjects
Genres
War fiction
Novels
Published
New York : World Editions 2021.
Language
English
Arabic
Item Description
"First published as Al Machaʼa in 2017 by Dar al-Adab in Lebanon"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
314 pages ; 21 cm
Awards
Winner, English PEN Award
ISBN
9781642861013
1642861014
9781912987238
1912987236
Main Author
Samar Yazbik (author)
Other Authors
Leri Price (translator)
Review by PW Annex Reviews

A girl from Damascus finds refuge in literature during the Syrian Civil War in this chilling work from Syrian writer Yazbek (The Crossing). At three, Rima decides to stop speaking. To keep her safe during the fighting, her mother takes extreme precautions, such as tying Rima's hand to the bed every time she goes to work, with a rope long enough that Rima can still wander around her bedroom. As her isolated childhood unfolds, Rima finds happiness by drawing scenes from The Little Prince and making up "hard to invade" planets. Then, when Rima is a teen, her mother is killed by soldiers at a checkpoint, and Rima is taken to a military hospital, where she witnesses more suffering and death. From there, the narrative becomes labyrinthine, and Rima's accounts often resemble a fever dream, reflecting the effects of her trauma and attempts to survive. Rima's tendency to jump from one story to the next without resolution can be frustrating and difficult to follow, but the individual moments are nonetheless wrenching. Despite its flaws, this offers a remarkable account of wartime despair. (Sept.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

FINALIST FOR THE 2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR TRANSLATED LITERATUREThe new novel Planet Of Clay gives a haunting and unflinching look at the horrors of war - the bombing, the starvation, the fear - all seen through the eyes of Rima, a young girl with a vibrant imagination."—NPR“Planet of Clay is a devastating novel about human resilience and fragility in a time of war.”—Foreword Reviews, starred reviewRima, a young girl from Damascus, longs to walk, to be free to follow the will of her feet, but instead is perpetually constrained. Rima finds refuge in a fantasy world full of colored crayons, secret planets, and The Little Prince, reciting passages of the Qur’an like a mantra as everything and everyone around her is blown to bits. Since Rima hardly ever speaks, people think she’s crazy, but she is no fool—the madness is in the battered city around her. One day while taking a bus through Damascus, a soldier opens fire and her mother is killed. Rima, wounded, is taken to a military hospital before her brother leads her to the besieged area of Ghouta—where, between bombings, she writes her story. In Planet of Clay, Samar Yazbek offers a surreal depiction of the horrors taking place in Syria, in vivid and poetic language and with a sharp eye for detail and beauty.