A DREAM FOR TWO by Rima Jbara


Email this review


A trite and uniformly mediocre collection of verse and occasional prose on the ins and outs of love.

Rima Jbara was born in Damascus in 1979, and though she does not say so, one assumes that English is not her native tongue. For A Dream for Two, which the author describes as “a collection of love bites,” is a mix of substandard poetry, stale aphorisms and questionable prose that could as easily have been produced by a middle-schooler with a big crush. The volume opens with Jbara’s poetry: brief, lazy free verse with short lines and slim content. Her idiomatic arsenal is limited, and when describing her love, her trustiest tool is a simple, less-than-original simile. Hence, she is “like [a] farmer / who wants to take care of you”; life without her lover “is like autumn” when “everything dies”; later, “Rose petals / That fell on me / To caress my body / Is like your love” (subject-verb agreement issues aside); away from her paramour, she’s “like a zombie.” Such basic verse is tiresome fare, but Jbara is not finished. Two of the next three sections are filled with one- or two-sentence fragments–one to a page–on (surprise, surprise) love and relationships. It’s unclear why she needed an entire page for quotes like “If you are the man not meant for me, then I don’t want any other man” and “You make me feel as if I am walking on clouds.” One of the final sections (more poetry, alas) takes an erotic turn, giving Jbara the chance to write–in the hilariously titled “Lick Your Dipping”–the classic lines, “You don’t need sugar / To taste better / You don’t need honey / To become more stickier.” In an author’s note, Jbara lists her previous bestselling novels, and all credit is due for having written each one. But it is clear, at least for now, that her poetry and short prose need much work.

Substandard writing on a hackneyed theme.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4196-7407-5
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: