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Dream Homes

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About the Author

Born in Cairo, Joyce Zonana earned her PhD in English at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Before coming to BMCC, she taught for 15 years at the University of New Orleans, where she was also Director of Women's Studies.


"Zonana's memoir . . . captures with honesty and beauty the suffering and uncertainty of migration and assimilation, whether forced or formulated." --Publishers Weekly "The writing is elegant and passionate, the story is familiar and strange all at once. A beautiful read." --Feminist Review "[An] absorbing, wide-ranging memoir . . ." --Lilith Magazine "[Zonana's] . . . lyrical descriptions are beautiful, invigorating." --Jewish Book World "Joyce Zonana's beautifully crafted Dream Homes is juicy with lived experience, lush with imagery and ideas--a treat for the senses and the intellect. Spanning locales as diverse as Egypt, her country of origin, through New Orleans, to the dry plains of Oklahoma, Zonana carries us along with her through the spaces--both sensual and emotional--that make up a woman's life. This is a literary journey the reader won't quickly forget." --Rosemary Daniell, author of Secrets of the Zona Rosa "In luminous and lucid prose, at once lament, elegy, and song, Zonana remembers the world of Egyptian Jews, a world she never knew, a world she knows intimately." --Carol P. Christ, author of Rebirth of the Goddess "Joyce Zonana's search for home is a hungry story, longing to be told again and again, moving across vast landscapes of the heart. Ranging widely in time and space, from her family's origins as Egyptian Jews fleeing anti-semitism to her post-Katrina exile from New Orleans, this luminous, haunting memoir is as carefully and lovingly constructed as one of its authors' stuffed grape leaves. Whether our own tables are sumptuous or meager, Joyce Zonana's journey shows us the resilient power of our lost homes to mold us and our own stories. I savored this book." --Minrose Gwin, author of Wishing for Snow "Joyce Zonana's memoir is a lush and beautiful read. Zonana writes gorgeous prose, full of spices and senses and sounds, while telling the story of a bookish girl who, like all of us, wants independence and love and great food. There are even recipes!" --Emily Toth, professor of English and women's studies, Louisiana State University "Dream Homes is a story that is rich in travel, in memory, and in love--of family, of friends, of lovers both male and female, and of many, many places; it is filled with detail about the rituals that make life worth living--shared food (readers will be grateful for the recipe for stuffed grape leaves), shared prayers. In the end . . . Zonana is still on a welcoming threshold, combining the traditional with the new, cherishing 'the beauty of our past, the promise of our future.'" --Times Picayune

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