Jessica Jiji is the author of “Diamonds Take Forever” and “Sweet Dates in Basra,” both published in English by HarperCollins and in Italian by Newton Compton. Most recently, her comedy “How to Judge a Book by its Lover” was published by Stone Tiger Books. She has partnered with author Paul Grossman on three full-length screenplays: “Queen of the CIA,” “Miss Interpreter,” and “I Married a Shaman.” Other credentials include EXcommunicating, a play penned with Adam Chernick, and “The Superman of Avenue C,” which was created with Seth Jacobson for the 48-hour film project. Over more than two decades, she has served at the United Nations as a video producer, speechwriter and news reporter. The daughter of an Iraqi immigrant, Jessica and her husband live in New York City with their three sons.
Jessica Jiji is the author of several acclaimed novels and numerous screenplays. She has worked for more than two decades at the United Nations as a professional video producer, speechwriter and news reporter. The daughter of an Iraqi immigrant, she now lives in New York City with her husband and their three sons.
The coming-of-age novel is a perennial favorite, and this month’s list of new books is rich with examples. Whether in the hothouse environment of an arts school or in Iraq in the 1940s, adolescents struggling toward adulthood offer moments of tenderness and amusement. And, of course, there are killers, too.
Jiji (Diamonds Take Forever ) explores the ties that bind and break family, friendship, and love in 1941 Iraq. Heartbroken that her family won't allow her to marry at 13 and be “ushered to the protection of a new home under the guard of a stern husband in the dewy marshlands north of Basra,” Kathmiya Mahmoud is sent to work as a maid in the city of Basra, where her frequent visits to marriage brokers turn up no prospective husbands.
Since the September 2001 suicide attacks on New York, the city’s bookstores have been flooded with volumes of nonfiction works attempting to explain the phenomenon of terrorism and its links with the world of Islam and the Middle East. While some scholars have duly warned of the dangers of perpetuating the myth of a “clash of civilizations”, coupled with the notion of “us and them”, others have seemed to relish inflaming anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment.