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BOOK REVIEW: ONCE IN A PROMISED LAND
BY LAILA HALABY

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Jassim and Salwa Haddad live in Tucson. He is an accomplished hydrologist, making a career of understanding the contemporary uses of water and ways to conserve this precious, limited resource. Salwa works at a local bank, with a position of responsibility and a lucrative second job selling real estate. Their home in an upscale section of a desert city in America carries reminders for them both of their childhood homes in Jordan, as well as a sense of satisfaction that they have both exceeded what their native land could offer them.

The reader can sense that this is a veneer, and when Salwa miscarries an unplanned pregnancy and Jassim is involved in a tragic automobile accident their lives begin to unravel.

For reasons neither of them clearly understands, they delay sharing the whole truth with each other and move on to concealing other, important truths.

Hovering over the entire story are the events of September 11, and eventually the paranoia and misguided suspicions of coworkers and casual acquaintances begin to invade their lives.

ONCE IN A PROMISED LAND is a very thoughtful book, filled with imagery of incipient collapse and with the poignant yearnings of the two main characters.

REVIEWED BY WOODSTOCK

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, WOODSTOCK

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