In The Inheritance of Exile, Susan Muaddi Darraj expertly weaves a tapestry of the events and struggles in the lives of four Arab-American women. Hanan, Nadia, Reema, and Aliyah search for a meaningful sense of home, caught in the cultural gap that exists between the Middle East and the United States.
Daughters of Palestinian immigrants who have settled into the diverse southern section of Philadelphia, the four friends live among Vietnamese, Italians, Irish, and other ethnic groups. Each struggles to reconcile her Arab identity with her American one. Muaddi Darraj adds the perspectives of the girls’ mothers, presented in separate stories, which illuminate the often troubled relationship between first and second generations of immigrants.
Her suite of finely detailed portraits of arresting characters, told in evocative, vivid language, is sure to intrigue those seeking enjoyment and insight.