An Unnecessary Woman: Book Review

Book cover of An Unnecessary Woman

In an unnecessary woman, Rabih Alameddine opens the window into the life of blue-haired, 72-year old Aaliya.

She walks us through the streets of Beirut, first, from the confines of her home, introducing us to her family and the people through her solitary existence.

Aaliya, the unnecessary woman, gives a rustic monologue of her life, paints a picture of Beirut as a city both tormented and loved. She also reminds us through her divorce and fierce loyalty to her apartment, of her desire to be something and to also be left completely alone.

Through Aaliyah’s voice, Rabih makes one feel like you know absolutely nothing while also swimming in a sea of knowledge.

An unnecessary woman is not a book that panders to the notion of what a good novel should be because Aaliya is a woman whose entire life is built on abstracts.

Fewer books have truly rocked me the way an unnecessary woman did because I feel so much kinship with Aaliya, her choices when it came to her work, her insatiable love for books, and her naivety towards her art.

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