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Crescent: A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


"Abu-Jaber's voluptuous prose features insights into the Arab American community that are wisely, warmly depicted."—San Francisco Chronicle

Sirine, the heroine of this "deliciously romantic romp" (Vanity Fair) is thirty-nine, never married, and living in the Arab-American community of Los Angeles. She has a passion for cooking and works contentedly in a Lebanese restaurant, while her storytelling uncle and her saucy boss, Umm Nadia, believe she should be trying harder to find a husband. One day Hanif, a handsome professor of Arabic literature, an Iraqi exile, comes to the restaurant. Sirine falls in love and finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about Hanif, as well as her own torn identity as an Arab-American.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 07, 2003 – Abu-Jaber (Arabian Jazz) weaves the story of a love affair between a comely chef and a handsome, haunted Near Eastern Studies professor together with a fanciful tale of a mother's quest to find her wayward son in this beautifully imagined and timely novel, which explores private emotions and global politics with both grace and conviction. Green-eyed, 39-year-old Sirine cooks up Arab specialties in a bustling cafe in Los Angeles where Arab students gather for a taste of home. When her doting uncle, who raised her after the death of her relief-worker parents 30 years ago, introduces her to his colleague Hanif, the placid surface of her life is disturbed. Their affair begins quickly and ardently, as Sirine, who has heretofore equated cooking with love, discovers the pleasures of romance, and the exiled Han struggles to feel grounded in a place far from the Baghdad he loved as a boy. In Abu-Jaber's sensuous prose, the city is as lush and fragrant as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and her secondary characters, like the wry, wise cafe owner Um-Nadia and the charmingly narcissistic poet and satyr Aziz, are appealingly eccentric. But a darkly troubled photographer drawn to both Sirine and Han, news of Saddam Hussein's latest atrocities and Han's painful memories of his imprisoned brother and his disappeared sister, for whose fates he feels responsible, cloud their affair, perhaps dooming it. Abu-Jaber's poignant contemplations of exile and her celebration of Sirine's exotic, committed domesticity almond cookies, cardamom, and black tea with mint help make this novel feel as exquisite as the "flaming, blooming" mejnoona tree behind Nadia's Caf .

Customer Reviews


I liked the book because it was a romantic love story but also had great food references. It told stories of slices of food and slices of life. Set in LA, the author brought in Hollywood the land of the great storytellers and included the uncle a storyteller from the old culture. I was disappointed the book did not include copies of recipes and notes from the author which was in the paperback version.

Crescent: A Novel
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: May 17, 2004
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W. W. Norton
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings