Hope Has Two Daughters
Written by Monia Mazigh
Translated by Fred A. Reed
Publication Date January 28, 2017
Unwilling to endure a culture of silence and submission, and disowned by her family, Nadia leaves her native Tunisia in 1984 amidst deadly violence, chaos, and rioting brought on by rising food costs, eventually emigrating to Canada to begin her life.
More than twenty-five years later, Nadia’s daughter Lila reluctantly travels to Tunisia to learn about her mother’s birth country. While she’s there, she connects with Nadia’s childhood friends, Neila and Mounir. She uncovers agonizing truths about her mother’s life as a teenager and imagines what it might have been like to grow up in fear of political instability and social unrest. As she is making these discoveries, protests over poor economic conditions and lack of political freedom are increasing, and soon, Lila finds herself in the midst of another revolution — one that will inflame the country and change the Arab world, and her, forever.
Weaving together the voices of two women at two pivotal moments in history, the Tunisian Bread Riots in 1984 and the Jasmine Revolution in 2010, Hope Has Two Daughters is a bracing, vivid story that perfectly captures life inside revolution.
Monia Mazigh was born and raised in Tunisia and immigrated to Canada in 1991. She was catapulted onto the public stage in 2002 when her husband, Maher Arar, was deported to Syria where he was tortured and held without charge. She campaigned tirelessly for his release. Mazigh holds a Ph.D. in finance from McGill University. She is the National Coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. She has published a memoir, Hope and Despair, and her novel Mirrors and Mirages was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award in the original French.
Fred A. Reed
International journalist and award-winning literary translator Fred A. Reed is also a respected specialist on politics and religion in the Middle East. He has reported extensively on Middle Eastern affairs for La Presse, CBC Radio-Canada, and Le Devoir. A three-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation, Reed has translated many works, including Monia Mazigh’s memoir Mirrors and Mirages. Fred A. Reed lives in Montreal.
"Can literature bear witness? This is the literary quest undertaken by Monia Mazigh in her novel about revolutions and families, about the Bread Riots of Tunisia and the Arab Spring. How do women come of age as dissidents? The difficult secrets shared by mothers and daughters are universal in this thoroughly imagined narrative in which a Canadian story is, necessarily, a story of the world." Kim Echlin, author of Under the Visible Life
"Monia Mazigh's second novel is an engaging book in which choices abound for young Muslim women." The Ottawa Citizen
"Both readable and relevant, especially since the reverberations of the Jasmine Revolution are still being felt today." The Winnipeg Free Press
"I enjoyed the poetry of two young women being exposed to riots in the same country but at two different times and realizing they need to fight back against the injustice of it." Niagara This Week
"Monia Mazigh’s latest novel takes readers through a cycle of hope, uprising, despair and hope again in a story of two girls awakened by civil unrest." The Globe and Mail
"An important work of fiction." Quill and Quire
"An important work of fiction." CBC All in a Day
"Mazigh possesses the moral authority to write this novel, as anyone who knows her personal biography can attest, and thus her words are not just empty rhetoric or arm-chair sociology, but born out of personal struggle — her own anger and courage — and yet emerging from that suffering as a voice of freedom and passion for those who will follow after her." Canadian Dream
"Hope Has Two Daughters adds significantly to a growing body of literature by and about Muslim women and sheds fresh light on a country still experiencing its own coming of age." The Toronto Star