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The Brutal Language of Love

by Alicia Erian

Alicia Erian's characters are brave, disarming, affectionate, and deeply flawed. They inhabit the not-so-very-wide space between a good intention and a bad outcome. In "Alcatraz," we meet a middle-school spelling champion who spends her afternoons taking baths with the boy next door. In "Almonds and Cherries," a young woman turns an unexpectedly arousing bra-shopping experience into a short film, with ramifications for everyone around her. In "On the Occasion of My Ruination," a college-bound student plots to lose her virginity to a pizza parlor waiter. The Brutal Language of Lovechallenges traditional notions of right and wrong with what has become Erian's signature -- an achingly stylish humor and a deep understanding of the brutal truth about human nature. These surprising, provocative, and deeply resonant stories marked the emergence of a major talent

Towelhead: A Novel

by Alicia Erian

It is August 1990. Saddam Hussein has just invaded Kuwait, and Jasira's mother has bought her daughter a one-way ticket to Texas to live with her strict Lebanese father. Living in a neat model home in Charming Gates, just outside of Houston, Jasira struggles with her father's rigid lifestyle and the racism of her classmates, who call her "towelhead. " For the first time, the painful truth hits her: she's an Arab. Her aching loneliness and growing frustration with her parents' conflicting rules drive her to rebel in very dangerous ways. Most disturbingly, she becomes sexually obsessed with the bigoted army reservist next door, who alternately cares for, excites, and exploits her.

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