Two Thousand and One Syrian Nights
By Pat McDonnell Twair
2018, 978-172-907957-7, $20.90 pb.
Reviewed by Samir Twair on November 16, 2020
Pat McDonnell was a journalist, archeologist, activist and native of California who, not long after arriving in Syria in 1977 for doctoral research, fractured her ankle at an archeological site. The mishap led her to her future husband, Samir Twair, and she went on to live in Syria through 1983 and publish some 1,800 stories—quite possibly as the only self-employed American in the entire country. She passed away in January 2018, and this is a posthumous collection of her writings from those years—from falling in love and getting to know her husband’s family to the epochal history of Syria, modern social life, relationships, women, artists and politics. It is a story of two people from two cultures meeting where East and West have met for centuries, a story that, in her case, has a happy ending.