“No Time, but for Love”

What was fascinating about that novelist when I meet her in her comfort zone -her home- that despite all the appearances of a typical Syrian home and family, and most importantly a typical Syrian woman, Amal Abo Saad is far from that description. The Syrian novelist and Arabic teacher, Amal Abo Saad, through her novel “There is no Time but for Love” take us to the world of love at a time of war through her protagonist “Leila”. However I do not deny my eagerness as I was running above the lines of the novel, and like any Syrian woman, craving to know whether love will succeed!

The novel “There is no Time but for Love”, is a novel celebrating love despite everything, “People think, especially men, that love needs time, and special circumstances; actually when you love someone you love him when you are working, dishwashing, cooking, or pegging out laundry” exclaimed Amal Abo Saad. She explained that all characters’ axes deal with the controlling topic of her novel love through her heroine “Leila”.

Leila the heroine of our novel lives pure love with her beloved Omar who immigrated and married a foreigner. Her father is an officer in the army, as for the husband Oubada he is a hybrid of war working with the rising mafia of corruption. The war has given us a heavy burden to carry one of horror, displacement, immigration, aftermath, search for identity, resistance to the last breath, and trying to stand again despite all the damage.  “Leila” says: "The war ate us, feeding on our horrors and daily worries, drank from our blood, and has been perfumed by our miseries!”

The events of the novel begin from Homs, depicting the crimes of bombing, terrorism and murder that terrorists sought to spread in that peaceful city.  The novelist then takes the reader to Damascus and its countryside through Leila’s movement to the capital, then to her hometown highlighting crimes of gangs at crossroads and around cities.

The novel is enjoyable, with a smooth language, carrying the reader to its world through detailed narration. The writer uses the flashback technique with her main character and the projections she made on other characters. A coherent, novel, with sequenced interconnected events, suspense, lot of metaphors and images Abo saad illustrates the social network, in which we store our hidden memories, from our past, our souls, and by which in melancholy we return to the past.

Between the lines, the reader can smell the perfume of a female vibrant heart seeking love and beating with life, resisting all circumstances even death so that everyone around stay alive, trying to face atrocities; as a Damascene lady will do, and as Omar describes his beloved Laila: “Laila, you are my homeland, you are Damascus, who was never been humiliated by loss, and whose nights were not killed by mourning.” Amal Abo saad take us in a journey with "Laila" to the last of her manifestations, waiting for her lover, while longing, nostalgia and pride eating at her.

Amal Abo saad expresses feminine modern Syrian literature, which has witnessed a growth throughout war. “Syrian women were forced to bear the burden of caring for whole families and become principal breadwinner. This heavy physical, mental, and emotional burden, blow up her literary potentials that why Syria has witnessed uprising numbers of female writers in all literary genres.” Abo Saad detailed.

Regarding her future plans, Ms. Amal Abo Saad told Syriatimes she is preparing for a new literary work under the same genre “novel”, depicting a relationship between two young Syrians one, a women in Syria and a man in Germany. The relationship displays the difficulties facing young Syrians in the aftermath of war. “I have been making connections with young Syrians from all over the world and from within Syria to document their experiences and be as realistic as possible in expressing their needs and aspirations for a better Syria” Ms. Amal Abo Saaad declared when asked about how she depicts her characters. “This time I will tell many stories from the point of view of a variety of characters.” She added

“Laila” is a clear representation of a resolute Syrian female, determined to succeed, remove obstacles, and help children and youth who were lost in the midst of this fierce war. She transformed her enormous love into a deeper and broader love. Our novelist Amal Abo saad is a Syrian female par excellence.

Interview by: Lama Alhassanieh