"These stories have a lot to say about the life of Arab Americans and the cultural conflicts of the immigrant. But the humanistic side of the Toledo neighborhood Geha explores teaches us important lessons about the nature of this country and the promise of Ellis Island."—The San Francisco Chronicle
"No other book, to my knowledge, has portrayed the Arab American immigrants’ assimilation experience with such candor, wit, and warmth."—Alixa Naff, author of Becoming American: The Early Arab Immigrant Experience
"A masterful writer whose understanding, sympathy and delight with his subjects is evident throughout."—Journal of American Ethnic History
"Opens an intriguing window onto the Lebanese-and Syrian-Christian émigré communities of Toledo and Detroit."—Publisher’s Weekly
Treasured in the Arab-American literary community, Through and Through is a collection of ten broadly interrelated stories originally published in 1990. One of the first books of modern Arab American fiction, Geha’s stories offer a warm, inspired portrait of an extended Arab family in a Lebanese and Syrian community in Toledo, Ohio, spanning the decades between the 1930s and the present.
In a series of vignettes, Geha follows three generations of an Arab-American family as they create a new community and way of life, struggling to keep their Arab roots vital while adapting their culture to new conditions. In “Holy Toledo,” Nadia, “a tomboy in her dungarees,” watches American women come into her town to shop. Although she calls them silly, she “wished that she were one of them, returning with them into that huge strangeness, America, luring her despite the threat it seemed to hold of loss and vicious sickness.” Portraying both the anguish and the humor of negotiating between the old world and the new, these stories offer a passionate, unvarnished glimpse into the lives of an immigrant community.
Born in Lebanon, Joseph Geha grew up in a Lebanese-American community in Toledo, Ohio. His short stories, poems, essays, and plays have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies, including the New York Times, Northwest Review, Epoch, Iowa Review, Dinazard’s Children, and Post Gibran. He has received a Pushcart Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts Award. Geha is professor emeritus at Iowa State University.
5.5 x 8.5, 176 pages