Blue Hen, May. 20002, 23.95, 288 pp.
In 1966, eleven year old Jammana struggles with her ability to see the memories of the past, as seen through the eyes of others. Currently, she accompanies her mother Rafa on a visit to the latter's hometown of Ein Fadr where the same families can trace their roots to Abraham and Allah's strict rules.
Jammana's beloved grandfather Harif also has psychic powers though his talent enables him to see into the future, making him somewhat of an outcast among the villagers frightened by that power. His spouse Faridah is a midwife delicately walking between tradition and independence. As Jammana struggles with her skills, her grandparents tell her tales of long-buried secrets.
STAIRCASE OF A THOUSAND STEPS is a powerfully insightful look at life in a small ancient Jordanian village. This is not the usual westernized character study as Masha Hamilton's brilliant novel provides insight to a complex society especially the roles of women in what is typically described as simple and servant, but in this novel is much more. Fans of deep glimpses into small village life will fully relish this strong tale starring three generations of tremendously developed characters.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner