Always Coca-Cola by Alexandra Chreiteh
The story of three different young women marks the literary debut of an amazing writer from Lebanon
Always Coca-Cola is the story of three very different young women attending university in Beirut: Abeer, Jana, and Yasmine. The narrator, Abeer Ward (fragrant rose, in Arabic), daughter of a conservative family, admits wryly that her name is also the name of her father s flower shop. Abeer s bedroom window is filled by a view of a Coca-Cola sign featuring the image of her sexually adventurous friend, Jana. From the novel s opening paragraph When my mother was pregnant with me, she had only one craving. That craving was for Coca Cola first-time novelist Alexandra Chreiteh asks us to see, with wonder, humor, and dismay, how inextricably confused naming and desire, identity and branding. The names and the novel s edgy, cynical humor might be recognizable across languages, cultures, and geographies. But Chreiteh s novel is first and foremost an exploration of a specific Lebanese milieu. Critics in Lebanon have responded in a storm, calling the novel an electric shock and finding that the problems of its characters reflect grave social anomalies. Read Chreiteh and see what the storm is all about.