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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,289 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Diana Abu-Jaber Narrator: Nike Doukas, Marcelo Tubert Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2003 ISBN: 9781598871562
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Half-Iraqi, half-American Sirine is a cook at Nadia’s Cafe, which draws the neighborhood’s Arab students, expatriates, and exiles. All are hungry for “real true Arab food” and connection to their homes. One is Hanif Al Eyad, a new hire in the Near Eastern Studies department at the university who fled Iraq as a young man. Sirine and Han fall in love over food: a baklava they make together, delicate lamb dishes, hummus glistening with olive oil.

Populated by colorful and memorable characters—the lovely Sirine; the handsome Han; Sirine’s story-telling uncle, whose fantastic fables are woven into the novel; a poet named Aziz; Nadia and her daughter Mireille—Crescent explores the universal themes of love and loyalty to countries old and new, to those left behind, and to tradition. Some of the characters are learning to live in one country and let go of another, and some are not—a fact that sparks a surprising ending.

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Taina | 2/20/2014

    " Again, this book proves that it is possible to take a cheesy romance novel and pad it up with talk of food and the political situation, making it readable, but never more than that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet Smith | 2/15/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book but have to admit that I skipped over the chapters of the uncle's surreal stories. I was only interested in the main characters life and love situations. I finished this book a while ago so I don't recall tons of details but the gist I remember is this: lonely woman in her 40's, American-born Iraqi, dead parents, loving uncle, meets attractive Iraqi professor and various men at her restaurant...all the men seem to have secrets, She falls in love with the professor. His secrets are of his Iraqi family/culture against his ever-expanding interest in western culture. Ends up in England, LA, then they fall in love and she eventually trusts him. I enjoyed the mystery of his past and the rift of cultures, mistrust, and eventual love. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vanessa | 1/31/2014

    " I am in love with this book- universal tale of love but told through the eyes of a half Arab half white American girl living in LA and raised by her Iraqi uncle. The book is filled with food- Abu Jaber's forte- Arabic cuisine and lovely Arabian folklore as told by her uncle. Sweepingly beautiful! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 1/20/2014

    " Even without the absolutely mouth-watering descriptions of Sirine's cooking, this is a wonderfully sensuous novel that captures a whole range of emotions beautifully. I can see now why the person who recommended this one to me speaks so highly of it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ruth | 1/19/2014

    " Delicious and beautiful writing, I think this deserves no less praise than what is given to The Kite Runner. I loved every moment of this book and was sad to finish it. I didn't want to leave the characters behind! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elise | 12/20/2013

    " Great writing - I enjoyed the story telling and the imagery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 11/14/2013

    " I loved this story about middle eastern immigrants living in LA. There is a sensuousness to this book, mostly due to the descriptions of food, cooking it, eating it, smelling it. Yummmmm. Great read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katy | 10/13/2013

    " Interesting fiction selection that takes place among the Iraqi and Iraqi-American community in Los Angeles. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ingrid | 10/12/2013

    " Brilliant, sensitive, compelling and suspensefullove story, with complex, believable, sympathetic characters. The themes of loss of, and ways to preserve, cultural and personal identity are central to the novel, as are the difficulties of being an Arab-American in today's world. I loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melanie | 10/10/2013

    " Boring...couldn't finish the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Molly | 8/31/2013

    " I almost gave up on this book in the beginning, I couldn't get in to it. But then I stuck it out and ended up liking it afterall. It was sweet and it hurt all at the same time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/14/2013

    " I liked the writing and the food references. It was a fun book to read. However, I felt let down when finally learning about Han's life in Iraq. It seemed like there was a lot of buildup for not much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly | 1/14/2013

    " What a beautifully written story.... I cannot believe I had not heard of this book until recently... Get read to crave middle eastern food as you read this story. I have eaten a lot of hummus over the past two weeks :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Crista | 11/19/2012

    " I also read the "Memoirs of Baklava"- Both intertwine beautifully food, language, and immigrant stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle Varrin | 9/11/2012

    " It's in my top 5 favorites of all time. I've read it twice now. A really believable, lovely romance, suspenseful. Colorful, rich, funny, sad. A perfect story. Could not recommend it more! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara | 7/24/2012

    " I love the food in this book and the energy from the main character. It is a little cheesy at the end, but overall enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 4/21/2012

    " Crescent is on the top of my list of books read! The language, emotion and characters are amazing. I was sad to find myself closing this novel for the last time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Libby | 3/16/2012

    " Oryxes :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 jen8998 | 3/4/2012

    " I loved this romance between an American chef and a recent immigrant from Iraq. Much angst is interspersed with lush descriptions of food. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angela | 1/3/2012

    " I loved this book! It will make you very hungry for middle-eastern food. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie | 8/20/2011

    " Wonderful story + delicious food descriptions= A great book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jamie | 6/20/2011

    " The story and characters interested me some but the writing was too flowery for my taste. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Yahya | 5/8/2011

    " It doesn't deserve two stars. But it's also not very one-starish... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steven | 2/24/2011

    " I know I'm in the minority here, especially among my colleagues who do Arab American literary criticism, but the more I read this novel the more boring I find it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janice | 1/28/2011

    " Ok book that lead to good discussion of the immigrant experience… "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ingrid | 12/5/2010

    " Brilliant, sensitive, compelling and suspensefullove story, with complex, believable, sympathetic characters. The themes of loss of, and ways to preserve, cultural and personal identity are central to the novel, as are the difficulties of being an Arab-American in today's world. I loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 10/18/2010

    " LOVED this book. I found myself thinking about the characters long after I finished it. Very well written!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 10/5/2010

    " I was annoyed for about 75% of this book. Most of it feels like a movie filmed with Vaseline on the lens. The rest of it made me feel manipulated. It does indeed treat Iraqis as real people, but let's hope that soon a book will need more than that to stand out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 8/24/2010

    " beautifully written, but I need an attention span to read this! Giving up for now... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chandra | 7/28/2010

    " really beautifully written, poetic language. fast readers will want to slow down to experience the imagery. i like how the book is so evocative of thoughts, feelings, and questions rather than just taking you down one road. i really enjoyed it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly | 7/28/2010

    " What a beautifully written story.... I cannot believe I had not heard of this book until recently... Get read to crave middle eastern food as you read this story. I have eaten a lot of hummus over the past two weeks :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie | 6/26/2010

    " In the characteristic middle-eastern style, this is a story within a story within a story. A little difficult to get into, but once I got going, I enjoyed it. "

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About the Author
Author Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of Origin, Crescent, The Language of Baklava, and Arabian Jazz. She has won the PEN Center USA Award for Literary Fiction, the Oregon Book Award, and other prizes. Her writing appears in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, Ms., Gourmet, Salon, and Vogue, and she is frequently featured on National Public Radio. She lives in Coral Gables, Florida, and Portland, Oregon.

About the Narrators

Nike Doukas is an actress who is most recognizable for her recurring role in Desperate Housewives. She performs regularly at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California, and has appeared several times at The Old Globe in San Diego, The Pasadena Playhouse, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she now lives in Costa Mesa.

Marcelo Tubert, an incredibly versatile actor, is known for his ability to change character and dialect, in both comedy and drama, with ease. His four decades career includes work in all mediums. Born in Argentina, Marcelo moved with his family to Southern California at the age of seven. A devoted family man, Marcelo and his wife Lori, a writer/director/producer, have two daughters, Emily and Sarah. Marcelo’s passions include fly fishing and cooking, which he shares with his daughters.