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Sitti, Sami's Lebanese grandmother, has been ill for a while, slipping from reality and speaking in a language only Sami can understand. Her family thinks Sitti belongs in a nursing home, but Sami doesn't believe she's sick at all. Desperate to help, Sami casts a spell from her grandmother's mysertious charm book and falls through an ancient mirror into a world unlike any other.
Welcome to Silverworld, an enchanted city where light and dark creatures called Flickers and Shadows strive to live in harmony. But lately Flickers have started going missing, and powerful Shadow soldiers are taking over the land.
Everyone in Silverworld suspects that Shadow Queen Nixie is responsible for the chaos, which is bad enough. But could Nixie be holding Sami's grandmother in her grasp too? To save Sitti and Silverworld, Sami must brave adventure, danger, and the toughest challenge of all: change.
A “bold, luscious” memoir, “indispensable to anyone trying to forge their own truer path” (Ruth Reichl).
On one side, there is Grace: prize-winning author Diana Abu-Jaber’s tough, independent sugar-fiend of a German grandmother, wielding a suitcase full of holiday cookies. On the other, Bud: a flamboyant, spice-obsessed Arab father, full of passionate argument. The two could not agree on anything: not about food, work, or especially about what Diana should do with her life. Grace warned her away from children. Bud wanted her married above all—even if he had to provide the ring. Caught between cultures and lavished with contradictory “advice” from both sides of her family, Diana spent years learning how to ignore others’ well-intentioned prescriptions.
Hilarious, gorgeously written, poignant, and wise, Life Without a Recipe is Diana’s celebration of journeying without a map, of learning to ignore the script and improvise, of escaping family and making family on one’s own terms. As Diana discovers, however, building confidence in one’s own path sometimes takes a mistaken marriage or two—or in her case, three: to a longhaired boy-poet, to a dashing deconstructionist literary scholar, and finally to her steadfast, outdoors-loving Scott. It also takes a good deal of angst (was it possible to have a serious writing career and be a mother?) and, even when she knew what she wanted (the craziest thing, in one’s late forties: a baby!), the nerve to pursue it.
Finally, fearlessly independent like the Grace she’s named after, Diana and Scott’s daughter Gracie will heal all the old battles with Bud and, like her writer-mom, learn to cook up a life without a recipe.
“A full-course meal, a rich, complex and memorable story that will leave you lingering gratefully at [Abu-Jaber’s] table.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post
At thirteen, Felice Muir ran away from home to punish herself for some horrible thing she had done—leaving a hole in the hearts of her pastry-chef mother, her real estate attorney father, and her foodie-entrepreneurial brother. After five years of scrounging for food, drugs, and shelter on Miami Beach, Felice is now turning eighteen, and she and the family she left behind must reckon with the consequences of her actions—and make life-affirming choices about what matters to them most, now and in the future.
"Finally, a novel of literary suspense that gets almost everything right—forensically and psychologically." —Sarah Weinman, Baltimore Sun
Secretly, in her heart of hearts, Lena Dawson hides the strangest of beliefs about her childhood. Hiding behind a cool competence as a superb fingerprint analyst in a crime lab in snowy Syracuse, New York, she feels totally out of place in the ordinary world of human interaction. Especially since the controlling husband who guided and protected her, then cheated and left her (though now he wants her back). Her uncanny ability to read a crime scene draws her into investigating a mysterious series of crib deaths—but ultimately the most difficult puzzle she must solve is the one of her own origins.
Diana Abu-Jaber, a “gifted and graceful writer” (Chicago Tribune), masterfully “transcends formula” (Kirkus Reviews) as “the tension of Origin escalates, shaped as much by beautifully nuanced prose as menacing events” (New York Daily News).
Diana Abu-Jaber’s vibrant, humorous memoir weaves together delicious food memories that illuminate the two cultures of her childhood—American and Jordanian. Here are stories of being raised by a food-obsessed Jordanian father and tales of Lake Ontario shish kabob cookouts and goat stew feasts under Bedouin tents in the desert. These sensuously evoked repasts, complete with recipes, paint a loving and complex portrait of Diana’s impractical, displaced immigrant father who, like many an immigrant before him, cooked to remember the place he came from and to pass that connection on to his children. The Language of Baklava irresistibly invites us to sit down at the table with Diana’s family, sharing unforgettable meals that turn out to be as much about “grace, difference, faith, love” as they are about food.