Mother of All Pigs by Malu Halasa
The Sabas family lives in a small Jordanian town that for centuries has been descended upon by all manner of invaders, and now Evangelical tourists. The community relies on the bric-a-brac smuggled in during the throes of war, the quality of which depends entirely on who’s fighting. This time the action is in Syria, and the threat of ISIS lies just across the border. The water delivery is less frequent, but life in the town persists and Hussein Sabas is the Levant’s only pig butcher, selling all manner of chops, sausages, and hams, much to the chagrin of his observant neighbors. His source is the Mother of All Pigs, an illicitly trafficked sow. A former Lieutenant in the Jordanian military, Hussein is familiar with black ops, but the popularity of his porcine products is about to give him away. When a former soldier in his regiment arrives, after a brief stint in Afghanistan as a mujahideen, Hussein finds himself with yet another thing to hide. Complicating matters, his niece Muna from America is visiting for the first time, and the encounter with her totally Western granddaughter has forced Mother Fadhma to confront her sheltered life of obligations and servitude, first to her callous and enterprising brother Abu Za’atar, and then to her husband, now dead, and children, most of whom left Jordan for the states. Her youngest daughter Samira also harbors a dangerous secret: she’s joined the Syrian rebel cause, and becomes involved in a covert operation leading back to the mother of all pigs, that will change this family forever.
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