Cover image for Through and through : Toledo stories
Through and through : Toledo stories
Geha, Joseph.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Saint Paul, Minn. : Graywolf Press, [1990]

Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A warm, inspired portrait of an extended Arab family in an Arab-America community. All of these related stories are set in an Arab (Lebanese and Syrian) neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio, and many of the characters appear and reappear in more than one story--all of which range in time from the 1930s to the present.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Short stories about a Toledo, Ohio, community of Arabian immigrants. Even though Geha immigrated from Lebanon decades ago, he has vividly recreated the many awkward incidents associated with adjusting to life in a foreign country. His characters struggle with English, the uselessness of old customs in an alien setting, superstition, fear, and the generation gap between immigrant parents and their American-born children. In the first story, "Monkey Business," a young widower plans to remarry so that his six-year-old son has a mother, but it is the ill-at-ease, timid father that needs mothering, not the boy. The title of the story "Everything, Everything" pointedly mirrors a daughter's frustrated response to her old-fashioned mother's inquiries: "Nothing, nothing." And in "News From Phoenix," an Arab family befriends a Jewish family. A worthy addition to the literature of immigration. ~--Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

His characterizations and storytelling skills are often underdeveloped, but in his first book Geha nevertheless opens an intriguing window onto the Lebanese- and Syrian-Christian emigre communities of Toledo and Detroit, from the 1920s to the present. Men import brides sight unseen from the old country; porcelain painted to look like miniature eyeballs serve as charms against the evil eye; and picnics are occasions for the playing of lutes and the dizzying stampede of feet in a debkee dance. Cultural displacement is Geha's overriding theme: Uhdrah's fiance is appalled when she, the newest greenhorn fresh from shepherding her father's goats, strokes the corpse of a mentally ill man, thinking to revive him; meeting a blond American in the laundromat, Barbara is ashamed of her dark hairiness and large breasts, her legacy from an intrusive old-fashioned mother; Tonia's marriage to blond American Wayne makes her tense; and tomboy Nadia thinks American women shopping in her neighborhood are ``silly,'' yet she wishes ``she were one of them, returning with them into that huge strangeness, America, luring her despite the threat it seemed to hold.''88 Geha reinforces stereotypes through women who cling to children, husbands, religion and superstitions, and Jews who are savvy in business and physically sickly. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved