"Every [story] tells a different example of culture clash . . . but all conclude with a resolution, a success in overcoming prejudice or anxiety, a state of settling oneself with difference."—Middle East Review
"The stories in this modest, admirable book offer sharp, illuminating glimpses into the lives of this Arab American clan. Khirallah Noble's elliptical, closeup prose cuts to the marrow of experience, often presented in fragments from which we glean the whole."—Los Angeles Times
"Exquisite, beautifully crafted stories by a writer of such assurance that you'd think this was her tenth collection rather than her first."—T. Coraghessan Boyle
The Situe, or Arab grandmother, moves in and out of this collection of eleven short stories, forming an irresistible drama of an extended Arab family in twentieth-century America. Frances Khirallah Noble’s deft and accomplished tales draw her experiences and the stories told by grandmothers, aunts, and other female relatives. Each story is complete in itself, but read together they fuse to form a powerful whole.
Khirallah Noble writes of immigrants tom between two cultures, the lure of capitalist success versus the cost of assimilation, marital and parental tensions, youth and age, innovation and tradition. Chronologically arranged and covering much of the twentieth century, the book begins with Hasna Elias’s immigration to America from what is now Syria and Lebanon, and ends in the present, where the situe lives in a Southern California home for the elderly.
Containing elements of magic and stoicism, the stories present textured characters rich in independence,
creativity, and initiative. As the stories move forward in time from the Old World to the new, Frances Khirallah Noble’s style shifts subtly from folk tale to contemporary fiction. The Situe Stories gracefully captures the integration of Christian Arab women into American culture.
Frances Khirallah Noble, a lawyer, lives in Santa Monica, California, with her family. She has written a number of short stories and a novel, The Old Neighborhood, and is at work on her next novel.
Series: Arab American Writing
5 x 7, 196 pages