I have believed for a long time that I grew up in a landscape of beauty and heartache and have attached an almost embarrassing weight to my memories of bright autumn days and abandoned factories, open fields of dead crops lined with hay bales. These are the pure, imprudent emotions of young love, the rush of adolescent sentiment unimpeded by an adult’s self-restraint and judgment, but the nostalgia, I realize, has very little to do with anyone I knew or anything that happened when I lived in Pennsylvania.
The internet has allowed access to the biggest names database the world has known. For me, the web has unearthed people with my exact name, sometimes around my age, and sometimes with similar interests and pursuits—a variety of Melody Nixons I never dreamed existed.... We are Latina, Black, White, and Kiwi.
Daoud’s novel is political, but not a polemic. It’s a thoughtful and independent-minded work of literature that takes Camus’s work as the jumping-off place for a new creation, in the vein of Jean Rhys’s Wild Sargasso Sea or José Saramago’s The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis.
This was a place of tribute bands, ladies nights, and horseshoe pits. A place we visited any chance we had heading north or south, a place we returned to, the origin of memories and oft-repeated phrases overheard in the midst of one fantastic day or another.