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Bitter Orange Tree

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Jokha Alharthi won the Man Booker International Prize (now the International Booker Prize) for Celestial Bodies in 2019. The story in her follow-up novel is at once epic and ordinary: it recalls harrowing tragedies and petty family squabbles, chaste romances and epochal cultural shifts brought on by international wars. At its heart is Bint Aamir, a woman who perseveres through Oman’s transformation from a traditional rural society into a modernized state. Alharthi’s prose, which was translated from Arabic into English by Marilyn Booth, is at once stark and breathtakingly descriptive. —Andrew R. ChowB

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