My Name is Salma
The Cry of the Dove
When Salma becomes pregnant before marriage in her small village in the Levant, her innocent days playing the pipe for her goats are gone for ever. She is swept into prison for her own protection. To the sound of her screams, her new-born baby daughter Leila is snatched away.
Devastated and disowned, Salma sits alone in custody for years in Hima before she is ushered to safety in Exeter, England. Away from the colours and smells of her Bedouin village, Salma is culturally dispossessed. As an asylum seeker trying to melt into the crowd, she finds herself on the other side, under pressure to reassess her values and etiquette.
In the middle of the most English of towns, Exeter, she learns good manners from her landlady, and settles down with an Englishman. But deep in her heart the cries of her baby daughter still echo. When she can bear them no longer, she goes back to her village to find her. It is a journey that risks everything.
Reviews and Endorsements
“This is a beautiful book, written in vivid, tender prose, about creating a new world when you have lost everything that matters. Salma is an unforgettable character, fierce and loving, veering between self-hatred and a sense of her own strength, touching and funny by terms. Now I have finished the book, I miss her.” (Maggie Gee)
“She writers beautifully. In contrast to her previous novels, it is an England of the 1980s and 1990s that is being observed, quizzically, affectionately, critically.” (Banipal Magazine)
"A tender and lively novel of exile, trauma and renewal . . . Free of migrant-fiction clichés, lyrical, sad, but often droll, Faqir's novel ends in a fateful return." (The Independent)
"Faqir’s novel vividly expresses the horror of lives oppressed by archaic, patriarchal honour codes." (The Financial Times)
"This novel is in a sense the story of women living in oppression anywhere. Through the protagonist, Salma, it tells of the travails caused by both external circumstances and inner conditioning which women often have to face and overcome all their lives." (Sonia Ghandi’s top read, 2007)
"No one can read this books without being changed." (The Jordan Times)
"Faqir has succeeded in making the tragic figure at the heart of ‘The Cry of the Dove’ into someone supremely human, both deeply heroic and deeply flawed, utterly believable. Salam is a real accomplishment." (SF Gate)
"Faqir skilfully weaves together the strands of Salma's life, and movingly follows her torturous path to asylum, and to her adult self and life." (Publisher’s Weekly)
"Un roman magnifique, bouleversant." (Le Soir)
"Sans jamais toucher dans le pathos, Fadia Faqir nous fait vivre dans la tête de cette femme meurtrie et courageuse." (Page des Libraires)
"Ce roman sur la déchirure, la culpabilité, le tiraillement entre deux cultures, est captivant." (DS)
"Fadia Faquir nous plonge, par une écriture crue, réaliste et parfois sensuelle, dans les méandres des tourments, des pulsions, des peurs, des envies, des nécessités qui animent Salma." (Altermondes)
"Roman poignant, pudique et intelligent, qui joue avec nos émotions tout en se préservant de toute mièvrerie ou de tout pathos larmoyant, My name is Salma tient de la tragédie ordinaire et lointaine, le beau récit d'un déracinement et d’un déchirement, entre Orient et Occident." (Blongre.hautetfort.com)
"يبقـــــى، أن سلمــى شخصيـــة لا تنســـى، و تعتمل في داخلها الأضداد، القسوة والحب، الوطن والغربة، والتأرجح بين كره الذات وحس القوة. . . رواية مميزة وجديرة بالقراءة والاعتبار."
(جريدة الحياة، عن رواية "إسمي سلمى")