Ghada Alatrash features Syrian women still living in their home country as well as ones that traded the war zone for a safer place like Canada or the U.S. Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women has prose as well as poetry. Fictional portraits, however, true to life of tortured women, a woman that chooses to stay unmarried because she only wants to marry a man whom she loves, a Christian that is forced to flee Syria, but cannot import typical Syrian herbs to the U.S., women dealing with a lost son or a homosexual one. Issues like these stir raw emotions of love and passion, despair, courage, and resilience. What is the meaning of a homeland? Would you stay or leave?
It is an exercise of freedom where women are stripped down to the skin, no layers; it is a celebration of womanhood, of a God-given exhilarating femininity, and it is delightfully liberating, according to the author, who’s strongly inspired by the poetry of artists like Nizar Qabbani, Khalil Gibran, Mahmoud Darwish, and Naomi Shibab Nye, as well as flowers, herbs, and Arabic expressions much more fine-tuned to express certain feelings and emotions than English or French.
The author pinpoints at political and religious motives to initiate and continue the destabilizing wars within Syria, without playing a blame game. The rather short book (176 pages) is packed with female strength and inspiration,
About the author
Author Ghada Alatrash was recently profiled along with other Syrian artists on the PBS Newshour. She is a PhD Student in Educational Research at the Werklund School of Education, at the University of Calgary. She is Syrian-Canadian, writes and translates. Her cause is to amplify the voices of the silenced in our humanity. In short, she hopes to become more human in her journey of life and is a dreamer.
An interview with the author is available at CBC.
I received a free review copy through the publisher Petra Books in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.