Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands
Sonia Nimr (Author); Marcia Lynx Qualey (Translator).
Award-winning tales of a young woman whose travel adventures across perilous deserts, seas, and empires In a tent at the foot of a mountain in Palestine, hundreds of years ago, our storyteller and her twin sister are born. Her newlywed parents name her Qamr (Moon), and her sister Shams (Sun). Their small caravan is journeying from the mother’s city back to the father’s remote ancestral village atop the mountain. This village suffers from isolation—and a curse, which her young family tries to undo. But when both parents’ lives are cut short, Qamr and her sister are left orphans.
And so, Qamr decides to pursue her mother’s and father’s dreams of discovering the world—its people, places and stories. With the red book in hand that brought her parents together, she sets out on a daring journey, on caravans and ships, across empires. Telling tales to survive, Qamr crosses deserts and seas: to Jerusalem and Gaza; Egypt, Tangier, Andalusia, and Genoa; Abyssinia, India, the Maldives, and Yemen. Kidnapped by bandits, sold as a slave to the House of a mad King, studying with a polymath, disguising as a man, and falling in love for the first time—with a pirate: Qamr searches irrepressibly for life, in endless stories within stories. Sonia Nimr’s richly imagined historical fable recalls the famous travel narratives of the 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta.
But the captivating adventures of our heroine are the wondrous journeys we take when we discover we can do more than we ever dreamed possible, even in strange lands that decree we cannot.
Winner of the Translation Award at the Palestine Book Awards 2021.