Written with compassionate realism and wit, the stories in this mesmerizing collection depict the disparities of town and village life in South America, of the frightfully poor and outrageously rich, of memories and illusions, and of lost opportunities and present joys. Stories include "No One Writes to the Colonel", "Tuesday Siesta", "One of These Days", "There Are No Thieves in This Town", "Balthazar's Marvelous Afternoon", "Montiel's Widow", "One Day After Saturday", "Artificial Roses", and "Big Mama's Funeral".
Half-Iraqi, half-American Sirine is a cook at Nadia's Cafe, which draws the neighborhood's Arab students, expatriates, and exiles. All are hungry for "real true Arab food" and connection to their homes. One is Hanif Al Eyad, a new hire in the Near Eastern Studies Department at the university who fled Iraq as a young man. Sirine and Han fall in love over food: a baklava they make together, delicate lamb dishes, hummus glistening with olive oil....