We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Before the Queen Falls Asleep

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529415650

Price: £10

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

Born a girl to parents who expected a boy, Jihad grows up treated like the eldest son, wearing boy’s clothing and sharing the financial burden of head of the household with her father.

Now middle-aged, each night Jihad tells her daughter a story from her life. As Malika prepares to leave home to attend university abroad, her mother revisits the past of their Palestinian family, tenderly describing their life in exile in Kuwait and her own experiences of love and loss as she grows up.

Huzama Habayeb weaves a richly observed and affectionate portrait of a Palestinian family displaced from their homeland, exploring with humour and poise the love and betrayal that pursues Jihad and her family from Kuwait to Jordan to Dubai. This is a novel whose words will resound long after you finish the final page.

Translated from the Arabic by Kay Heikkinen

What's Inside

Read More Read Less


A brilliant novel of the Palestinian diaspora. Funny and gritty, and bursting with life and humour.
Ahdaf Soueif, Guardian