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Dunya Mikhail

Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea

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Written by Dunya Mikhail
Translated by Elizabeth Winslow

A genre-blurring memoir that mixes prose and poetry to paint a picture of life in Iraq, and outside of it.

Format: Paperback
Pages: 256

An impressionistic and deeply personal work by the award-winning Iraqi-American writer, Dunya Mikhail, Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea covers her earliest sensations of childhood to a more complicated grasp of death, beginning with the death of her father to the Gulf War and the subsequent Iraqi War.

Part One opens with her early life and the devastating impact of war on her country. Part Two, a suitcase packed with thirty years of the poet’s life as she flees her home. The two halves merge past and present, girl-child and woman-child, in a lyrical memoir that ebbs and flows between memories of her childhood, her father’s death, her Iraqi poet-peers and friends, and her job as a journalist for the Baghdad Observer. Vivid images of her migrations — between Baghdad, her ancestral village, Trebill, Petra, Amman, and the U.S. — are interwoven with moving family stories. 

Written in both English and Arabic.

Read if you: have had Duolingo on your phone for the past four years without opening it.