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In Tiger and Clay: Syria Fragments, Rana Abdulfattah mixes poetry and prose to present her experiences of exile, love and loss in Istanbul. Abdulfattah, originally from Syria, speaks about her life in Istanbul since the start of the war in Syria. In the process, she offers an intimate insight into what it means to watch the destruction and war from afar; an insight tinged with the inescapable change that war brings. Humanitarianism, NGOs, and the bureaucracy of legality all meet within the pages of the book as she faces them in her daily life. Istanbul in its mosques, cats and historical streets takes prime place as Abdulfattah manages to convey her love for this city that has become her home. Love and longing are intertwined throughout the book as she struggles with love lost and another regained. The book is ultimately a testament to human resilience.
“If the title of Tiger and Clay – Syria Fragments is a metaphorical conundrum, it isn’t difficult to find the simplicity in its complexity. You can’t be human without the synthesis of both tiger and clay, and surely, you can’t act in the world without the fire of the tiger. Tiger and clay together animate the imagination and creative spirit of Rana Abdulfattah’s journey out of exile and into human being-ness,” Sandra Fluck the author of Evening Muse and Longitudes at Daybreak.
“Beautiful and important, these vignettes are lush in language, taking you on a journey, not just between Syria and Turkey, but between personal and political, communal and individual, the intimate and collective. We are pulled into a labyrinth of thoughts, lead through with wonderful images, delightful word associations, accomplished word plays. Timely, fresh and surprising. Dive in and enjoy!” Olumide Popoola author of Breach.
“The book is a young woman’s meditation on becoming: rejecting stereotypes and fighting off her own feelings of panic and insecurity as she loses first her homeland and the love of her life and somehow dares to live on, accommodating an always-changing situation,” Malu Halasa author of Syria Speaks-Art and Culture from The Frontline.
Biography: An avid lover of coffee, cats and Istanbul, Rana Abdulfattah is from Damascus and currently lives in Istanbul. Tiger and Clay is her first book, but she has written poetry and prose for several years.