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Bitter Sweet

Beautifully written Bitter Sweet is a gentle and yet rich walk through life from esteemed author Amal Awad, who says writing this novel of family life had her digging deep within herself as she created Palestinian Australian Zeina, her friend Noor and the challenges that come with simply ‘growing up’ no matter the age.

Zeina is beginning to think her life is unfolding like a seriously bad dream. Her father is in failing health and the flooding of his restaurant seems to be the final straw for the ailing business. She has separated from the love of her life Ray, who will not even return her messages. Her best friend Noor seems to be on a pathway to destruction, filled with grief she simply can’t seem to let go.

The only solace in the entire mess is her work at Salud as the head Chef, a place where she can immerse herself in creation; a place where she can let the troubles of the day flow away and she can enjoy the moment for what it is; preparing exceptionally good food.

In a world of broken pieces she feels the only thing she can fix is her father’s restaurant, Casablanca. She decides a slight change of direction may be a good thing, so makes the decision to take leave from Salud which Julien, her boss and long time friend agrees to reluctantly.

Her back story, which runs in tandem, adds a depth of perspective to what is happening in her life and how this almighty mess has occurred. It also shows the deep bonds of family and friends in the lives of so many who have made a home in a country far from the land of their birth.

As Zeina slowly puts her life back together again, one little step at a time, she begins to learn some valuable lessons about love, letting go, acceptance, friendship and most importantly, resilience..

Bitter Sweet is an entertaining read and as it is also based around food, the tantalising aromas of Palestinian foods served at Casablanca, the upmarket dishes of Salud, the completely unique food served at Isabella’s restaurant in Spain by food genius Alejandro, all seem to waft up from the pages.

Gracing the final pages of the book is a delicious menu from Suffra and a list of Arabic Cooking Classes which rounds out a most enjoyable book very nicely.

Author Amal Awad
Publisher Pantera Press
ISBN 978-0-6452400-8-5
Distributor Pantera Press
Released August 2023