It’s 2013 and Sara is a philosophy professor at Kuwait University. Her relationship with Kuwait is complicated; it is a country she always thought she would leave, a country she recognizes less and less. Yet for eleven years—since her return from Berkeley following her mother’s unexpected death—a certain inertia has kept her there. When teaching Nietzsche in her Intro to Philosophy course leads to an accusation of blasphemy, which carries with it the threat of execution, Sara realizes she must reconcile her feelings and her place in the world once and for all.
Interspersed with Sara’s narrative are the stories of her grandmothers—beautiful and stubborn Yasmine, who marries the son of the Pasha of Basra and lives to regret it, and Lulwa, born poor in the old town of Kuwait, swept off her feet to an estate in India by the son of a successful merchant family—as well as those of her two mothers—Noura, who dreams of building a life in America and helping to shape its Middle East policies, and Maria, who leaves her own children behind in Pune to raise Sara and her brother, Karim, and, in so doing, transforms many lives.
Ranging from the 1920s to the near present, An Unlasting Home traces Kuwait’s rise from a pearl-diving backwater to its reign as a thriving cosmopolitan state to the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion. At once intimate and sweeping, personal and political, it is an unforgettable family portrait and a spellbinding epic tale.