For fans of Alice Munro and Lorrie Moore. A young girl, renamed Amerika in honour of the US role in the liberation of Kuwait, finds her name has become a barometer of her country’s growing hostility towards the West. A middle-aged man dying from cancer looks back on his extramarital affairs and the abiding forgiveness of his wife. The headlines tell of war, unrest and religious clashes. But if you look beyond them you will see life in the Middle East as it is really lived – adolescent love, the fragility of marriage, pain of the most quotidian kind. Mai Al-Nakib’s luminous stories unveil the lives of ordinary people – and the power of objects to hold extraordinary memories.