Mohammed is an aggressive, dominant character who bullies his wife and four children and wages paranoiac diatribes against his sister and her family. It is only when Mohammed leaves for work every morning that the house relaxes into the rich interconnectivity of familial relationships: between Mohammed’s gentle wife Fatima and his sister Rana, who yearns desperately to contribute to this historic fight for freedom; between the twelve-year old twins and Rana’s gentle son Mazin, whose effeminacy is a source of great anxiety to her. This formidable woman tends her chickens and her garden in the courtyard, sharing the produce with the neighbours and improving the lives of everybody around her, even though she cannot raise a placard with the men. When Ahmed, Mohammed's brother, is involved in a terrible incident,and he wakes up in an underground cavern, surrounded by groaning, dying men stretched out on blankets on the floor, he is stunned by what he discovers there. A Hero explores the complicated question of what constitutes a hero set against the exciting, frightening chain of events happening in the Middle East right now – events that will have far-reaching effects on our part of the world. Readers will discover how similar and different our cultures are as they identify with the emotions and interactions of the people in this story, and learn something about themselves in the process.
Charlotte Mendel lives in Enfield, Nova Scotia, with six goats, two cats, eleven chickens, two children, one husband, and thousands of bees. Her first novel, Turn Us Again, won the H.R. Percy Novel Prize, the Beacon Award for Social Justice, and the Atlantic Book Award for First Novel.
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