We are happy to announce that publishing house Nord (part of the Mauri Spagnol Group) has acquired Italian rights of 'Miel y almendras' (Honey and Almonds), by Maha Akhtar, in a pre-empt. The novel is published in Spain by Roca Editorial. The third reprint has just been ordered this week.
Miel y Almendras (Honey and Almonds), by Maha Akhtar
RocaEditorial, 2012 (469 pp.)
A small group of women from different social backgrounds meet at Lebanon’s Beauty Saloon Cleopatra. Their fears, mistakes and the wish to rebuild their lives are at the centre of ‘Miel y almendras’, an exotic novel in which it is easy to recognise bits of our own lives.
Miel y almendras is built up by the stories of different women, who meet at the small beauty saloon ‘Cleopatra’, in Beirut. Mouna, the owner, is 37 and remains unmarried. Her mother still criticises the way she dresses and her make up. Besides, she is having serious difficulties to keep the bussiness running. The Cleopatra lived better moments when the neighbourhood where it is located was a chic area of Beirut. Now, after the civil war its decay is obvious.
But by chance, four of the most important women in the country become her regular clients. Each of them has her own story and readers learn them as the novel develops. The stories told by these women show the contradictions but also the advantages of living in a country where the West and the East converge. Despite the differences in social class and their arguments about modernity and tradition, the Cleopatra becomes a particular Oasis for these women as when they meet in this women-only small paradise they can talk and discuss freely about their lives, their hopes, their frustrations... without the feeling that a patriarchal society is watching or judging them.
They will also unfold the difficult situation of the country, with a recent history marked by the Civil War that ended up in 1990. The war and its consequences has also played an important role in their private lives.
Rights sold: Italy (Nord/Mauri Spagnol)
Maha Akhtar (Beirut, 1963) is an American journalist and writer based in New York. Raised up in the UK and with Indian and Spanish ancestors. Years ago she was PR of the famous band ‘The Cure’ and later she began her career in journalism becoming a producer for CBS News’s Evening News With Dan Rather, 60 Minutes and 48 Hours. She is the author of two successful non-fiction books in Spain: La nieta de la Maharaní and La princesa perdida. Both inspired in her family’s story and in the discovery that one of her grandmothers was a Spanish dancer who married the Maharaja of Kapurthala (India).