Book Title: Middle South by Maya Nessouli Abboushi
Category: Adult Fiction, 215 pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Lanier Press
Release date: March 8, 2017
Tour dates: April 17 to May 5, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13
Layla has recently moved out of her parents’ home in the Atlanta suburbs and into an apartment in the city to assert her independence. Between her job as a feature writer for a small newspaper and her social life, Layla has little time to think about marriage and children, much to the dismay of her Lebanese parents. On a hilarious journey that takes Layla from the Southeast to the Middle East and back, she finds out a little more about herself and what she is looking for in life and in love.
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Special Guest Post:
Layla is Born: Creating My Main Character
Layla, the main character in Middle South, is an Arab American Muslim girl living in the Southeast. She is smart, funny, and tough. I like to think that she is a better version of me. She’s the person I wish I had been when I was younger. She fights for what she wants, and she’s living her life on her terms. I think readers will relate to her because she could be their neighbor, friend, or acquaintance.
She’s interesting to read because she’s trying to strike a balance between her two selves: a young, independent American woman, and the doting, chaste daughter of Lebanese immigrants. She is desperately trying to hold on to the image her parents have of her while being a typical young American. Layla is looking for the same thing everyone out there is looking for—a job she enjoys, a person she can spend her life with, and to be all right with finding neither for a while. As the novel progresses, Layla’s character evolves. Her trip to Beirut helps her reconnect to her roots while acknowledging that they don’t have to define who she becomes.
For American readers, I hope Layla will serve as a new example of Arab Muslim culture. Unfortunately, for many in the United States, Arab Muslims have become synonymous with violence and radicalism. Layla was written to show that there is another side of the culture. I hope Layla helps readers come away with a different perception of people from the Middle East.
Meet the Author:
Maya Nessouli Abboushi is a Lebanese American born and raised in the United States. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.
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