In Islamic and Western tradition, age twenty-nine is a milestone, a year of transformation and upheaval.
For Hala Alyan, this is a year in which the past—memories of family members, old friends and past lovers, the heat of another land, another language, a different faith—winds itself around the present. Hala’s ever-shifting, subversive verse sifts together and through different forms of forced displacement and the tolls they take on mind and body.
Poems leap from war-torn cities in the Middle East, to an Oklahoma Olive Garden, a Brooklyn brownstone; from alcoholism to recovery; from a single woman to a wife. This collection summons breathtaking chaos, one that seeps into the bones of these odes, the shape of these elegies.
A vivid catalog of trauma, heartache, loneliness, and joy, The Twenty-Ninth Year is an education in looking for home and self in the space between disparate identities.