The Servant - Fatima Sharafeddine

First published in Arabic in 2010, this is an absorbing story of a teenager coming of age during the Lebanese civil war in 1987  determined to make more of her life than working as a maid for a wealthy family in Beirut, an arrangment her father made to help the family make ends meet. Sharrafeddine explores compelling conflicts and themes in the story: economic class, city life versus village life, the clash between tradition and modern society, and modern women challenging a strict patriarchal society. The story would probably have a stronger emotional impact if Sharafeddine had told the story in first person rather than third. Nonetheless, Servant is rich, insightful historical fiction about a brave young woman's self-determination. Pair this story with Zeina Abirached's graphic memoir, A Game for Swallows (Lerner, 2012).