‘Dahlia and Carys’ by Hastie Salih

Sarah Amini is a retired GP

Hastie Salih wrote her debut novel ,‘Dahlia and Carys, whilst working full time as a GP during the demanding and turbulent Covid years. She was raised in Germany and in Wales but it is her Kurdish ethnicity that serves to add cultural sensitivity to the issues that she explores in her novel.

‘Dahlia and Carys’ can be read simply as a romantic thriller with kidnapping, daring rescues from active war zones and theft of antiquities. However, its strength lies in its exploration of some hard-hitting contemporary issues including sexuality, the fear engendered by the war in Iraq and radicalisation.

There are two main characters in the novel. On the one hand, Dahlia, a journalist of Kurdish heritage struggling with her family’s conventional views regarding morality and their cultural expectations. On the other hand, there is Carys, a self-confident Welsh doctor whose parents are described as loving and supportive.

One of the strongest themes to be developed in this book is the challenge that can face women who wish to find love and acceptance for a same sex partner whilst simultaneously trying to maintain supportive family bonds. The minefield of mother-daughter relationships is explored in depth. There is also the undercurrent of the characters’ personal internal struggles in navigating their wants and desires and how much to reveal of themselves in today’s society.

A second major element is radicalisation. It is interesting to hear Dahlia’s brother reveal his thought processes and his personal justifications for abhorrent plans.
The aspects relating to the characters’ emotions seem more effectively realised than those relating to the book as a thriller. We see the author’s writing grow in confidence as the novel unfolds and we can see her finding her voice. I can imagine that she might enjoy focussing her talents more specifically on relationships in future works.

Featured Book: ‘Dahlia and Carys’ by Hastie Salih, Published by The Conrad Press Ltd. 2023 ISBN 9781915494313, Paperback £10.99

Featured photo by MIO ITO on Unsplash


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5 months ago

This captivating book skillfully weaves together diverse cultures and sexualities, creating a rich tapestry of love and understanding. The narrative beautifully illustrates how love transcends boundaries, embracing the beauty of differences. An inspiring journey that highlights the power of connection and the universal language of the heart.

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