rabih alameddine, “i, the divine”

i loved hakawati, so ordered alamaddine’s earlier (2001) novel, “i, the divine,” subtitled “a novel in first chapters.”      i was dubious.   a gimmick, i thought.   each chapter is a different beginning of a memoir by sarah nour el-din, a lebanese woman living in america.   the first few chapters were interesting enough to keep me reading, but not earth-shattering.    about 50 pages in i was hooked, by 100, smitten.   sarah is a fascinating character, beautifully drawn through the stories she tells about her family and friends.   each re-writing of her story reveals a different perspective until she finally ends with “who am i if not where i fit in the world, where i fit in the lives of the people dear to me?”    it’s a lovely book.   i’m now an official rabih alamadinne fan.