Alexandra Chreiteh is Mellon-Bridge Assistant Professor of Arabic and International Literary and Visual Studies at Tufts University. In her Academy project, her third novel in Arabic, tentatively t...
Mary Ellen von der Heyden Reading
Sweetmeats: A Novel
Alexandra Chreiteh’s novel and fiction podcast Sweetmeats is set in a border town between Lebanon and Syria, on the cusp of the Syrian revolution. Through a multiplicity of perspectives, it probes the relationships between gender and labor, global migration and ecological disaster, mounting nationalism and domestic violence. As popular protest unravels into armed violence, an elderly wedding singer finds a mysterious body hidden in her sister’s basement and takes it upon herself to dispose of it. Her fate becomes intertwined with that of a trans migrant and an indentured domestic worker from Ethiopia. Sweetmeats probes the meaning of belonging amid intense geopolitical upheaval and mass migration, tracing the intricacies of estrangement from one’s home and one’s own body. It poses the question: Can violence ever be generative? Rather than a simple agent of destruction, could it ever create something new?