Ruba, an eight-year-old girl residing in a village outside Beirut, Lebanon shares her story of everyday observations she makes from the safety of her home. Lebanon is under attack by Israel’s bombs in the 1980s and Ruba worries about the safety of her family members.
Her innocence and curiosity immerse the reader into the mind of an eight-year-old experiencing life through the thick smoke of shelling and the sounds of bombings from nearby villages.
Fascinated by Lebanon’s fauna, flora and her family members, Ruba shares the minutest and most banal details that transport us into a child’s untainted world amidst bloodshed and suffering. Abi-Ezzi juxtaposes the two layers of war and bloodshed with Ruba’s innocence and offers her readers a window into the sufferings of the Lebanese war while they reside in the secure abode of Ruba’s innocent thoughts.
Ruba is puzzled by several mysteries in the novel, the witch who cursed her father, the lost glass eyeball, the nature of her uncle Wadih’s job, her brother’s change in behaviour, and her quiet classmate Amal. Abi-Ezzi helps Ruba solve these mysteries and also helps Ruba’s father or Papi make up for his past mistakes.
Even though it is the 1980s and the war hasn’t ended yet, Abi-Azzi’s characters are hopeful, have no regrets about the past, and are reunited.