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A Palestinian American woman wrestles with faith, loss, and identity before coming face-to-face with a school shooter in this searing debut.
A uniquely American story told in powerful, evocative prose, The Beauty of Your Face navigates a country growing ever more divided. Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter—radicalized by the online alt-right—attacks the school.
As Afaf listens to his terrifying progress, we are swept back through her memories: the bigotry she faced as a child, her mother’s dreams of returning to Palestine, and the devastating disappearance of her older sister that tore her family apart. Still, there is the sweetness of the music from her father’s oud, and the hope and community Afaf finally finds in Islam.
The Beauty of Your Face is a profound and poignant exploration of one woman’s life in a nation at odds with its ideals.
About the Author: Sahar Mustafah is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. Her short stories have been awarded the Guild Literary Complex Prize for fiction, a Distinguished Story honor from Best American Short Stories, and three Pushcart Prize nominations, among other honors. She lives in Chicago.
A Note From the Publisher
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“Mustafah writes with a grace and precision that shows a deep understanding for the ways trauma can distort a life. The Beauty of Your Face is a richly empathetic work about the power of faith, family, and love.” - Maurice Carlos Ruffin, author of We Cast a Shadow
“The Beauty of Your Face is a striking and stirring debut, one that reaches its hands straight into the fire. Sahar Mustafah writes with wisdom and grace about the unthinkable, the unspeakable, and the unspoken.” - Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Great Believers
“The indelible story of a Palestinian-American woman whose life is torn apart by loss, finds solace in her faith, and faces a violent threat that tests how far she has come. Sahar Mustafah writes about family and community with compassion and sensitivity. The Beauty of Your Face is a gift to readers.” - Laila Lalami, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Other Americans
“Rich with details of Islamic faith and Arab culture, The Beauty of Your Face is an insightful and beautifully drawn study of the complexity of being an American Muslim immigrant. This compelling novel brilliantly challenges the notion of a unified religious and ethnic narrative while laying bare the most universal of desires: for love, acceptance, and belonging.” - Rajia Hassib, author of A Pure Heart