The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor

Rana Haddad


Aspiring photographer Dunya Noor discovers early on that her curious spirit, rebellious nature, and very curly hair are a recipe for disaster in 1980s Syria. And at the tender age of thirteen, she is exiled to live with her grandparents in England.

Many years later in London, she meets Hilal, the son of a humble tailor from Aleppo and no match for Dunya, daughter of a famous heart surgeon. But, dreamy, restless Dunya falls in love with Hilal and they decide to return to Syria together, embarking on a journey that will change them both forever.

Rana Haddad’s vivid and satirical debut novel captures the essence of life under the Assad dictatorship, in all its rigid absurdity, with humor and an unexpected playfulness.



BBC Radio presenter Amanny Mo speaking with Rana Haddad, about her novel, on InstagramLive coffeeandconvowithamannymo (October 2020)




"A fabulous novel about Assad mafia Syria, by brilliant @SyrianMoustache [Rana Haddad], who captures the unparalleled absurdity of totalitarianism with true comic genius."—Rana Kabbani

“A vivid debut . . . infused not only with comedy but with a gentle lyricism. This is a story about love in its many shades, its pleasures and its pain, and how it feels to have the political intrude upon the intimately personal.”—i News

"Telling satire for anyone who knows Syria.”—Gareth Smyth, The Arab Weekly

"While Haddad's novel depicts the context of Syria's conflict, aspects of it could be happening anywhere. For this is not so much a novel about Syria, but a novel about the strangeness and difference between what is said and unsaid, what is understood and what is not.”—Usman Butt, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed

“[An] exceptional debut novel. Satirical and witty . . . there is a skillful lightness to Haddad’s writing.”—Arab News

“[The novel] transverses love, youth, rebellion, hypocrisy and the absurd in 1980s and 1990s Syria.”—Usman Butt, The Arab News

“Very enjoyable reading . . . it is to be hoped that we will see more from Rana Haddad.”—The Modern Novel



Rana Haddad

Rana Haddad grew up in Lattakia in Syria, moved to the UK as a teenager, and read English Literature at Cambridge University. She has since worked as a journalist for the BBC, Channel 4, and other broadcasters, and has also published poetry. The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor is her first novel.

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  • March 7th 2018
  • $16.99 / £9.99 / LE200
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9789774168611

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