An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

Rabih Alameddine's novel An Unnecessary Woman is a narrative about nothing but yet about everything. The protagonist, Aaliya, a 72 year old divorced woman, lives alone in Beirut with her books and her translations. She has isolated herself but she is still part of the world through the books she reads. Though the book seems to deal with the mundane pieces of daily life, the simplest of things will take us into her memories and the ideas and inspirations she gets from her books.

“I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word. Literature is my sandbox. In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time. It is the world outside that box that gives me trouble. I have adapted tamely, though not conventionally, to this visible world so I can retreat without much inconvenience into my inner world of books. Transmuting this sandy metaphor, if literature is my sandbox, then the real world is my hourglass—an hourglass that drains grain by grain. Literature gives me life, and life kills me.”
— Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

There is alot to discuss with this book. From what qualifies as a fulfilled life to the intricacies of female friendships. How can reading play a role in ones life and can it enhance our relationships with others or hinder it or both?

I highly recommend this book. For discussion questions and additional material check our An Unnecessary Woman page