Sophia Al-Maria’s childhood is split between her mother’s home in the Pacific Northwest and her father’s home in Qatar. Somehow she must blend these radically different lifestyles together in order to secure her place in the world.
Country Focus: Qatar
The Girl Who Fell to Earth: A Memoir
By Sophia Al-Maria
Published by Harper, 2012.
About the author: Al-Maria is a video artist whose works explore “Gulf Futurism, ” a term she coined to describe the rapid cultural and architectural transformation of the Persian Gulf.
Falak squinted into the photo, trying to make out who they were. “That’s your bother Badr with the dog.” She pointed him out.
“How can you tell?” I asked. The boy was facing away from the camera, clothed in a brown winter thobe.
Falak shrugged as though it were obvious. “The shape of his head, the way he’s standing.”
I stared long at the little figure but gleaned no clues. It seemed the uncanny gift of recognition that was hardwired into everyone else’s brains had skipped me. Even as a child I remembered being confused by the veiled women all around me and felt a strange jealousy when still-crawling babies were able to pick their mothers out of a lineup of identically perfumed and identically veiled women. I thought that if by chance one generation and a half a world were removed from the equation, I might have been living one of the last of the ancient ways on earth.