When Salma becomes pregnant before marriage in her small village in the Levant, her innocent days playing the pipe for her goats are gone forever. She is swept into prison for her own protection. To the sound of her screams, her newborn baby is snatched away.
In the middle of the most English of towns, Exeter, she learns good manners from her landlady, and settles down with an Englishman. But deep in her heart the cries of her baby still echo. When she can bear them no longer, she goes back to her village to find her. It is a journey that will change everything.
Slipping back and forth between the olive groves of the Levant and the rain-slicked pavements of Exeter, ‘Un té alla salvia per Salma’, in its English version ‘My Name is Salma’, is a searing portrayal of a woman’s courage in the face of insurmountable odds.
Just a hint at the plot of ‘Un té alla salvia per Salma’ to guess that it has nothing to do with the romance that paints an East of slow gestures and fascinating traditions. For the Anglo-Jordanian Fadia Faqir, a leading figure in the debate on the status of women in Islam, writing fiction is instead an investigation that goes “from politics to sexual discrimination, to the challenges of the human condition”. Her Salma, contradictory and melancholic, is the symbol “of the drama of emigration, of the destiny of motherhood and of the futility of every attempt to erase the past”.