Thérèse Soukar Chehade
"Thérèse Soukar Chehade’s finely rendered first novel uses the Lebanese Civil War as the background to her story of a Maronite Christian immigrant family....The seven haunted voices that narrate Loom, create an overlapping narrative of loss and frustrated desires, of dreams deferred and revisited."
—American Book Review
"An expansive and beautiful new storyteller, Chehade tightly binds personal experience with the universal desire to belong, effortlessly weaving a dense tapestry of loneliness and regret."
—Publisher’s Weekly starred review
"A thoroughly original story that lingered with me
long after reading it."
—Laila Halaby, best-selling author of
West of the Jordan
"In Loom Lebanon and North America flare to life,
illuminating each other. With a wonderfully assured
touch Chehade weaves the pain and joy of familial
bonds around stories of war and migration. A beautiful
—Kamila Shamsie, author of Burnt Shadows: A Novel
As a blizzard blankets the northeast United States, burying residents
and shutting down airports, the Zaydan family eagerly awaits the arrival
of Eva, a cousin visiting from Lebanon after a long separation from the
family. Over the course of several days, while Eva is stranded in New
York City, Chehade’s nuanced story unfolds in the reminiscences and
anxieties of each family member.
Emilie, the matriarch of this Lebanese American family, lives in a
world of voluntary silence. Barely able to read and write in English
and refusing to speak for the last several years, she immerses herself in
her garden and leaves elaborately cooked meals anonymously for her
solitary neighbor. Emilie’s oldest daughter Josephine, middle aged and
still living with her mother and married brother, struggles to regain the
independence and confidence she had as a young girl in Lebanon.
Young Marie, stifled by her conservative family, is determined to study at
Berkeley and to leave behind her immigrant identity. All three are drawn
to their mysterious neighbor, nicknamed Loom, whose loneliness and isolation
mirror their own and kindle within each woman a desire to make
a connection. When Emilie takes off during the blizzard in the direction
of Loom’s house and the rest of the family follows in her pursuit, their act
is both an escape and a reaching out. Beautifully written and teeming
with vivid portraits, Chehade’s novel is both heartfelt and wise.
View other books in the Arab American Writing series
Thérèse Soukar Chehade teaches English as a Second Language to
elementary school students in Amherst, Massachusetts. This is her first
6 x 9, 168 pages