Head Above Water: Reflections on Illness

Product Details
$17.95  $16.69
Feminist Press
Publish Date
4.9 X 7.9 X 0.7 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author
Shahd Alshammari is a Kuwaiti-Palestinian author and academic. She is the author of the books Notes on the Flesh and Head Above Water, as well as numerous other academic publications and papers. Her areas of research include illness narratives, disability studies, and questions of identity and language in the Arab world.
"An intimate and layered portrait of disabled womanhood." --Kirkus (starred review)
"This text is not only a deeply important exploration of illness and the body but also an exploration of narrative--how and why we tell stories. A necessary read." --The Brooklyn Rail
"Alshammari's memoir reveals the depth of the issues facing other cultures and forces us to consider the difficulty, desirability, or wisdom of imposing our own ideas and solutions on others in their quest for change." --Wordgathering
"A compelling narrative that leaves a lasting impact." --Arabology

"A necessary and beautiful account of life with a sometimes-invisible and unpredictable disability, complicated by both patriarchy and racism, as well as a professor's love letter to the act of teaching and being taught." --Marcia Lynx Qualey, ArabLit

"Shahd Alshammari's Head above Water is a welcome addition to the growing body of illness narratives. She conveys eloquently and candidly the randomness of her multiple sclerosis, communicating what it's like to live in her body--Arab, female, disabled--and how her illness has shaped her education and her life as an academic. Her prose is at once lively and deadly serious, vividly somatic and deeply thoughtful, highly engaging. Her book succeeds at a difficult endeavor: narrating chronic illness without imposing a false narrative arc on that experience." --G.T. Couser, author of Recovering Bodies: Illness, Disability, and Life Writing

"This is a rich, lyrical, honest account of living with a chronic, painful condition which deals with pain and loss, and yet is a joy to read." --Catherine Simpson, author of One Body

"Shahd Alshammari's memoir of life with MS is one of the first distinctly 21st century illness narratives. She situates chronic illness at the intersection of issues that include gender, exile, medical experimentation, and the politics of the Middle East." --Arthur W. Frank, author of At the Will of the Body

"Beautifully written. . . . The book offers numerous anecdotes filled with trials and tribulations, historical narratives and childhood dreams, and above all human moments that remind us that wherever we lie on the spectrum of being fully able-bodied human beings or significantly disabled we all share similar fears and more importantly hopes." --Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, founder of Barjeel Art Foundation

"A breakthrough narrative on dealing with a chronic illness. Conversational in tone, yet candid and probing in nature, Head above Water fills a gap in disability narratives by Arab Women." --Nawar Al-Hassan Golley, author of Reading Arab Women's Autobiographies