Aisha Abdel Gawad: Between Two Moons

Tuesday, June 6, 2023 - 6:30pm

Barrett Bookstore is thrilled to celebrate the release of Between Two Moons with author Aisha Abdel Gawad! Join us for wine, light bites, and conversation as we help to launch Aisha's book into the world. 



It’s the holy month of Ramadan and twin sisters Amira and Lina are on the verge of high school graduation. What should have been their last summer of carefree teenage revelry takes a turn when their older brother is released early from prison. While the sisters struggle to acclimate to his jarring presence in their carefully balanced home, his mysterious behavior has them on edge. Outside the apartment, tensions are rising in Bay Ridge. After a local business is raided by the Department of Homeland Security, a beloved faith leader is attacked, and the local mosque is defiled, the twins must face a shattering reality: they are not wanted in the country they call home. Things spiral out of control as they question who they can trust, including each other.

 Perfect for readers of Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers, Ayad Akhtar’s Homeland Elegies, and Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire and fans of Brit Bennett, Jesmyn Ward, and Laila Lalami, BETWEEN TWO MOONS examines the ugly truths and the prices paid for the American Dream. Drawing inspiration from her own experience of growing up as the daughter of Muslim immigrants under the specter of post-9/11 Islamophobia and US engagement in multiple wars on multiple fronts against Arabs and Muslims; her first job at an Arab American community center and social services agency in Bay Ridge; research into NYPD and CIA intelligence reports; and her keen insight into the realities of female friendship at the cusp of adulthood as a high school English teacher, Gawad offers an intimate coming-of-age story and a polyphonic portrait of life in a surveillance state and asks us to question our own assumptions about faith, family, allegiance, and community.


“[An] astonishing debut. . . [Gawad] does a knockout job developing the characters, and is especially convincing in conveying Amira’s conflicted feelings about Sami’s return and sketching the contours of the close-knit neighborhood. . . This is a winner.”Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Excellent. . . Engaging. . . A complex portrayal of [a] whole community. . . A vibrant achievement.”

Kirkus Reviews
“Heartfelt. Moving. Powerful. . . An urgent and unflinching story that deeply challenges and changes you. We need voices like those of Aisha Abdel Gawad.”

—Etaf Rum, New York Times bestselling author of A Woman Is No Man

“A generous, beautiful portrait of both the joys and fears of Muslim life, one that doesn't treat lived experience only as tragedy. It is a moving look at family, survival, and celebration, one that will echo for decades.”—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Little Devil in America

“A fearless and unflinchingly honest debut. With dangerous accuracy, Aisha Abdel Gawad depicts a particular kind of immigrant existence, that of an Egyptian family in New York struggling with myriad fault lines, both generational and experiential. . . More than anything, Between Two Moons is a story about the place so many Arabs in this part of the world have been forced to inhabit in the post-911 age: that malicious, disorienting chasm between the hope of being seen and the fear of being watched.”

—Omar El Akkad, author of What Strange Paradise and American War

“[A] stylistically superb debut. . . Elegant and fearless. . . In this doubtless classic, Aisha Gawad has seen many things, and her bold and dazzling prose illuminates everything.”

—Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Bodega Dreams


Aisha Abdel Gawad has been published in The Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, and the scholarly journal The Muslim World in a special issue on Anglophone Muslim women writers. She won a 2015 Pushcart Prize for her short story “Waking Luna.” This is her first novel.

Between Two Moons: A Novel By Aisha Abdel Gawad Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385548618
Published: Doubleday - June 6th, 2023

Event address: 
5 Corbin Drive
Darien, CT 06820-4127