Emily Daoud Nasrallah (1931-2018) was a Lebanese writer and women’s rights activist. Her first novel was published in 1962. Her first novel translated into English is Flight Against Time, translated by Issa J. Boulatta. This work is set in part in Prince Edward Island and New York and is the reason that Nasrallah is included in this website, even though she did not reside in Canada. The novel was first published in eighteen episodes in an Arabic weekly in Paris in 1980 and subsequently published in novel form in Beirut in Arabic the following year. In addition to the Canadian publication in English (1987), the novel was reissued by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin (1997) and in Beirut by Naufal, an imprint of Hachette Antoine (2017).
Flight Against Time
Translated by Issa J. Boulatta.
Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed Press, 1987.
This novel of the emigrant experience is a moving witness to the Lebanese people and to a time, the civil war. Emily Nasrallah’s narrative follows an elderly Lebanese couple who leave their village during the war to visit children and grandchildren in the New World. The war escalates dangerously during their visit, and the couple’s children are reluctant to let their parents return home. Although much of the story takes place on Prince Edward Island and in New York, the behavior and rituals of the family are those of the village in southern Lebanon. Such traditions may not be necessary to life in the New World, but are nonetheless terribly painful for emigrants to discard.