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Stripped to the Bone by Ghada Alatrash

Book cover

Stripped to the Bone

Stripped to the Bone is a collection of seven short stories by Ghada Alatrash, each one presenting Syrian women in a variety of circumstances. There are some moments of happiness but, not unexpectedly given the difficult contemporary situation in Syrian, many that are sad or tragic. I wonder if the author is an optimist as there are seeds of hope but the landscape is a scarred one.

It was a touching book but there were a couple of points I felt could have been improved on in the eBook edition I got as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers scheme. There were lots of explanatory notes in the text which interrupted the flow of the story; fascinating as there were, they should have been footnotes or endnotes and not blocks of text in square brackets. Possibly my review edition was not fully formatted? I also would have liked a bit more introduction to each story. These are works of fiction but how much is realistic and how much is artistic licence? Given the nature of these stories, I wanted to know more as it doesn’t feel like the kind of material I would want to read merely for entertainment.

It isn’t my usual fare but a book that would leave me pondering if only I could be more certain where the line between fact and fiction lay.

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