Between Two Moons
by Aisha Abdel Gawad
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Pub Date 06 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 13 Jun 2023
Doubleday Books, Doubleday
"Breathtaking.” —New York Times Book Review
"A gorgeously written and profoundly intimate debut." —Etaf Rum, author of New York Times bestseller A Woman Is No Man
It’s the holy month of Ramadan, and twin sisters Amira and Lina are about to graduate high school in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. On the precipice of adulthood, they plan to embark on a summer of teenage revelry, trying on new identities and testing the limits of what they can get away with while still under their parents’ roof. But the twins' expectations of a summer of freedom collide with their older brother's return from prison, whose mysterious behavior threatens to undo the delicate family balance.
Meanwhile, outside the family’s apartment, a storm is brewing in Bay Ridge. A raid on a local business sparks a protest that brings the Arab community together, and a senseless act of violence threatens to tear them apart. Everyone’s motives are called into question as an alarming sense of disquiet pervades the neighborhood. With everything spiraling out of control, how will Amira and Lina know who they can trust?
A gorgeously written, intimate family story and a polyphonic portrait of life under the specter of Islamophobia, Between Two Moons challenges the reader to interrogate their own assumptions, asking questions of allegiance to faith, family, and community, and what it means to be a young Muslim in America.
“Heartfelt. Moving. Powerful. Between Two Moons is a gorgeously written and profoundly intimate debut. Aisha Abdel Gawad follows an Egyptian family in New York as they struggle to navigate the immigrant experience, powerfully depicting the struggle to remain themselves and the pressure to assimilate, the emotional trauma, uncertainty, displacement, and culture shock. An urgent and unflinching story that deeply challenges and changes you. We need voices like those of Aisha Abdel Gawad.”
—Etaf Rum, author of New York Times bestseller A Woman Is No Man
“Between Two Moons is a fearless and unflinchingly honest debut. With dangerous accuracy, Aisha Abdel Gawad depicts a particular kind of immigrant existence, that of an Egyptian family in New York struggling with myriad fault lines, both generational and experiential. The small details throughout this story—from the mechanics of prayer-time ablution to the subtleties of Egyptian-accented English—are spot-on. More than anything, Between Two Moons is a story about the place so many Arabs in this part of the world have been forced to inhabit in the post-911 age: that malicious, disorienting chasm between the hope of being seen and the fear of being watched.”
—Omar El Akkad, author of What Strange Paradise and American War
“The Muslim community in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge is a world we hardly know, filled with Arab American women who have long been neglected in the white pages of American Letters. In Aisha Gawad’s stylistically superb debut these women are seen, heard, and made known. Aisha’s elegant and fearless prose introduces us to Amira and Lina, post 9/11 twin sisters who are scarred witnesses of the distrust, fear, and racism Arab Americans face every day. Yet, they soar. Amira, torn between leaving Brooklyn while staying loyal to her Egyptian heritage, to ‘not to be like them—those people, out there in the world, who didn’t know us and despised us.’ And rebellious Lina, who like Icarus, just might have soared too high towards the violence of men. See Something, Say Something? In this doubtless classic, Aisha Gawad has seen many things, and her bold and dazzling prose illuminates everything.”
—Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Bodega Dreams