Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oranges in no man's land by Elizabeth Laird

Recently a friend asked me for a novel where the main character is a hero.  I happened to be reading  Oranges in no man's land at that time and so was happy to make this connection.  Ayesha, the main character in this book is indeed a hero.  She takes an enormous risk travelling through check points with armed guards so she can get some precious medicine for her grandmother.

Elizabeth Laird once again takes her readers into countries and cultures they may never experience. Oranges in no man's land is set in Beirut during the Civil War. The story opens as bombs begin to fall once again on the ruined city.  Ayesha, Latif and Ahmed, her brothers, and their grandmother flee the house assured their mother is close behind.  "And a shell fell on our house, wiping out our little shack of a house, and everything in it.  I never saw Mama again."

Survival means taking refuge in a house once meant for a single family but now home to many.  The wonderful Mrs Zainab and her daughter Samar befriend and comfort them.  Daily life is hard but they learn to cope until one morning Ayesha sees her grandmother is very ill.  She has now run out of medicine.  Ayesha decides to travel through the dangerous city to find the doctor.  This doctor lives on the other side of the Green Line.

This is a very short novel but it contains a powerful story.  A few years ago I recommended this book to a young student and I was so happy when she came back to me and said it was the best book she had ever read!

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