Arabic for Beginners

Arabic for Beginners

by Ariela Freedman
  • critically-acclaimed
  • debut
  • english-from-quebec
  • from-quebec
  • literary
  • women-s

When Hannah accompanies her husband and small children to Jerusalem for the year, she becomes fascinated with a group of expat women at her son’s daycare, as well as a young Palestinian woman named Jenna. As she grows close to Jenna, she starts to question her own marriage and her relationship to Israel.

A novel of domestic and political ambivalence, Arabic for Beginners is about marriage, motherhood, friendship, nation, and the complicated ways we think of home.

“Freedman brilliantly captures the existential and alienated state that mothers of young children inhabit. Freedman's work is reminiscent of Rachel Cusk and Deborah Levy.” — Heather O’Neill


Ariela Freedman, author

Ariela Freedman was born in Brooklyn and has lived in Jerusalem, New York, Calgary, London, and Montreal. Her reviews and poems have appeared in Vallum, Carte blanche, The Cincinnati Review and other publications, and she was selected to participate in the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s 2014 Mentorship Program. She has a Ph.D. from New York University and teaches literature at Concordia’s Liberal Arts College in Montreal, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Arabic for Beginners, her first novel, was shortlisted for the QWF First Book Prize and named one of Quill & Quire's Best Books of 2017.


  • Ariela Freedman's wonderful first novel, "Arabic for Beginners" named one of Quill & Quire's Best Books of 2017. Congratulations, Ariela! In "Arabic for Beginners" – her affecting, polished, and deeply confident debut novel – Ariela Freedman presents the Middle East conflict as we’ve rarely seen it, through the eyes of an ambivalent wife and mother. Freedman’s prose is so fluid and flawless that I felt I could trust her, paragraph after paragraph, to take me wherever she wanted to go. - Mark Sampson, Quill & Quire Link to review


  • Shorlisted, 2017 Quebec Writers' Federation First Book Award

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Linda Leith Publishing



rights sold: Canada

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 309

publication date: 03/25/2017

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book

Additional Materials: More info