Summer Blast – Book by Dania El Kadi

Summer Blast”, Turning Point Book’s first foray into fiction delivers a fresh and feisty new voice amidst the surge of Middle Eastern women writers.  New Lebanese Novel Tells Of A Generation’s Resilience.

Turning Point Books, a leading book publisher based in Beirut today announced the launch of its first fiction title Summer Blast, a novel by Lebanese writer Dania El-Kadi. Loosely inspired by real life conflicts in Lebanon, this dynamic novel tells the story of three gutsy women who decide to carry on with their summer plans despite a war that breaks out in their country.

“We are excited to debut our work in fiction with this remarkable novel,” said Turning Point director, Charlotte Hamaoui. “Featuring three interweaving and merging plots, multiple settings and a war back drop, this is the kind of story that our readership will enjoy and identify with. Middle Eastern women’s fiction is a fast growing genre and we’re happy to introduce new voices to the region.”

In Summer Blast, three women (two cousins and a friend of theirs) have a summer plotted out—final wedding preparations, an impending divorce and a life-long dream to see Madonna in concert in Paris. Three weighty projects, three women on a mission! When war erupts between Lebanese factions and the Israeli army, leaving Lebanon cut off from the world, the girls find that politicians may have just warred all over their plans.  Determined to pursue their dreams, all three characters carry on stoically, trying to steer their original courses as best they can. Bomb-dodging, land and sea evacuations, confronting obstinate ex-husbands and handling straying boyfriends are some of the misadventures!

Maya wants to marry her college sweetheart. And to that end proposes to take her wedding by the horns and make it work as scheduled come war or peace! Rouba must reach Kuwait, the setting of a pending divorce. Elyssar must get to see Madonna live in Paris in homage to her childhood dream, and to this end orchestrates her own evacuation to New York, smartly salvaging her power career in the process.

The plot moves neatly between three women in different countries united by the threat posed by their home country at war as well as the very real threat of shoe regrets and pre-wedding weight crises alike in typical Chick Lit that doesn’t take itself too seriously. However this is chick lit with a difference as it does attempt to treat the somber matter of the ravages of war and disenfranchised refugees as well as complex issues as the raising of step-children and infertility.  The tone is lightened and the plot is buoyed up by a subtle humor – “I haven’t yet found a man to free me from corporate slavery” that allows the characters to get through the worst of it.  Stories of defiance, attitude and female solidarity between ‘cousinettes’ and friends: A friend helps her best friend’s heavily pregnant cousin across the border to safety through a precarious journey. A 30-something career woman bonds with a 12 year-old tween after a shared sea ordeal. Refugee ladies empowered!

These are contemporary women who must confront real life issues that afflict those even in a war-zone – finding love and fulfillment, having to balance a career with family commitments, figuring out a breaking down relationship or a summer fling turned sour. All are taken on with gusto, but not without a re-questioning of, but ultimate refusal to compromise, previous priorities. Summer Blast celebrates, in the journeys of women in war, the strength and fortitude of ladies in the face of adversity.

About The Author

Dania El-Kadi was born to Lebanese parents in Georgia USA. Her father’s career in the military also took her to Belgium as a teenager. Dania studied history at the American University of Beirut and worked in the technology sector in Kuwait and the UAE. She currently lives in London.

Dania’s short novel, Un Chemin Sur Son Front, was published in Paris by “Éditions Caractères”. Her short story, Trophy Wife, was published in the “Words to Music” anthropology, a charity project by writers from around the world. She has also contributed articles to leading Arabic dailies.

Book launch & signing: Thursday, March 24th, 2011 from 5-8pm at Virgin Megastores, Downtown, Beirut, Lebanon