The Maids of the Shrine

Mona al-Shammari

One ill-fated night, the body of a woman with a swollen belly is washed up on the shore of the island of Failaka, Kuwait. But the shrine of Al-Khidr (“the Green One”) – whose miracles are desired by the people of the island as much as they fear his wrath – wills that life be brought from the heart of death, and thus appears “the child of the shrine”. Adhiba, a maid of the shrine, conceals a dangerous secret; she knows that the story of the shrine is just a ruse concocted by Maria the Ethiopian, who decided to change her life by becoming the woman in charge of the shrine. The child grows up among the maids of the shrine and his destiny is intertwined with that of the people of Failaka, embroiled in battles over love, betrayal, superstition and trade.   


Dar Al Saqi


2022 Longlist