Joining us today from the UK (hence the weekend starting time) where she is pursuing doctoral work on ‘the intersection of Arab women’s fiction and literary trauma theory’ is Kuwait-born novelist Layla AlAmmar. She has written two novels, both to much acclaim, the second of which has become her first to be published in the U.S., Silence is a Sense (Algonquin). A woman has fled her homeland of Syria because of the civil war there, coming to the UK - and trying there to reckon what it has all meant, even if words aren’t there for saying it.
“Silence Is a Sense is a fierce novel. The prose is ferocious, the pace is ferocious and the beguiling central character, known as The Voiceless, conceals behind her inability—or reluctance — to speak, a striking, visceral intensity. She obsessively watches the people around her to silence her own trauma, but every now and then it can’t help but break through. Layla AlAmmar has skillfully woven a narrative of memory and grief with an illuminating social critique of the position of asylum seekers within contemporary British society. It is daring and devastating." —Fiona Mozley.
“Kuwaiti-American author Layla AlAmmar masterfully depicts that silence is a refuge, too, for people affected by the unspeakable . . . AlAmmar succeeds in challenging the refugee or asylum-seeker stereotype, including the one of a young Arab woman.”—The Markaz Review.