Booknotes: An Unnecessary Woman

This is the story of Aaliya Sobhi, a 70-something, divorced, childless, single woman living in Beirut. The narrative unfolds over a matter of 2-3 days in the present. The rest of her life story is revealed in flashbacks triggered either by present-day events or, in Proustian fashion, by various physical sensations and visual reminders. The first-person voice often addresses the readers directly which, in less skillful hands, could have been distracting but, here, manages to bring us closer to the protagonist.