The Occupation of Zaima

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By Georgeann Packard

ISBN 32768426

For Zaima al-Aziz, her poetry is the most direct expression of her anger and pain. It pours out from her in sharp, clear language, more like expulsion than expression. She is an Iraqi American who has just returned to Michigan from the chaos that is the Iraq War. Now she finds that neither the country of her birth nor the country of her parents is home. Contrast that with the narrative following Theodore Dash, a young man returning to his boyhood summer paradise in northern Michigan from a Franciscan seminary. His grandfather has died and his will challenges Theodore to choose between the life of the cloth and one of the soil. He seems the personification of good intent and selflessness, but there is a dark side to his soul, which he cannot evade. Zaima has a pressing reason to travel to that same small northern village and away from her family in Dearborn. Her life will collide with Theodore’s in dramatic and unpredictable ways as they both struggle to unravel who they are and why they are bound so uncomfortably together.

GEORGEANN PACKARD is a fiction writer, graphic designer, and landscape photographer. She also designs and installs gardens on Long Island’s North Fork. Her first novel, Fall Asleep Forgetting, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in 2010 in two categories. Kirkus hailed her second book, Paint the Bird, as “brilliantly imagined and rendered.”

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