An Unlasting Home

An Unlasting Home

N/A April 2023 Paperback 384pp

About the Book

Sara is a philosophy professor at Kuwait University. Her relationship with Kuwait is complicated; it is a country she recognises less and less. Yet since her return from California after her mother’s death, a certain inertia has kept her there. When she is accused of blasphemy – which carries with it the threat of execution – Sara realises she must reconcile her feelings and her place in the world once and for all.

Awaiting trial, Sara retraces the past, intent on examining the lives of the women who made her. Interspersed with her narratives are the stories of her grandmothers: beautiful and stubborn Yasmine, who marries the son of the Pasha of Basra and lives to regret it, and Lulwa, born poor in old Kuwait and swept off to India by her wealthy merchant husband; and her two mothers: Noura, who dreams of building a life in America, and her ayah Maria, who leaves her own children behind in Pune to help raise Sara and her brother Karim.

Spanning Kuwait, Lebanon, Iraq, India and the United States, An Unlasting Home brings to life the triumphs and failures of three generations of Arab women. At once intimate and sweeping, personal and political, it is an unforgettable family portrait and a spellbinding epic tale.

About the Author

Mai Al-Nakib was born in Kuwait and spent the first six years of her life in London, Edinburgh, and St. Louis, Missouri. She holds a PhD in English from Brown University and is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Kuwait University. Her short story collection, The Hidden Light of Objects, won the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award in 2014. Her fiction and essays have appeared in various publications, including Ninth Letter, The First Line, After the Pause, World Literature Today, and the BBC World Service. She lives in Kuwait and is working on her second novel.

→ Author Website


‘A multigenerational saga about five formidable women … Evocatively crosses the decades and continents to chart Kuwait’s transition through the twentieth century.’
Mariella Frostrup, Times Radio

‘A smooth, fast-flowing narrative devoted to telling, not showing … a testament to the eternal vibrancy and pluck of women in the Arab world.’
Financial Times

‘Passionate and skilful. Every detail lands perfectly and leaves the reader altered.’
A.L. Kennedy, author of Day

‘Al Nakib writes imaginative tales with grace, lucidity and intelligence. Poignant and profound.’
Selma Dabbagh, author of Out of It

'So fresh and unsettling that it will enchant you from the first page and linger for days after reading.'
Los Angeles Review of Books