Aya Dane creates mixed media paintings and writes a diary in her studio above a strange, old Cambridge townhouse. There she lives alone, having left her childhood home in Tangiers. Though she has carved a name for herself in the art world, she allows herself just one close relationship, to an intimate companion named David.
One day, Aya receives a letter from a powerful, enigmatic patron, an invitation to submit her ultimate work to his collection. If he deems it worthy, he promises, her art will live on forever. Aya finds herself unable to resist the mysterious invitation, and challenge.
But as she begins to work on the commissioned painting, from her top-floor perch, the streets of Tangiers reappear to her. Their white-and-blue walls, purple bougainvillea, sweetness and sorrow bring back to life people and events she thought she’d left behind. Aya becomes haunted by forgotten scenes, only to discover that she herself is being painted, on a canvas from which it seems impossible to escape…
Dreams of Maryam Tair:
Blue Boots and Orange Blossoms
Outside of time, the legendary queen Sheherazade tells a little girl a story that has happened, and is yet to happen. Dreams of Maryam Tair brings readers to a Casablanca of myth and metaphor, of curses, witches, djinns and demons. But it is also a very present-day Casablanca: a raw, pitiless landscape of crumbling urbanism and rusty ports, of bureaucrats and student revolts, and of a deep human solitude. During the Casablanca Bread Riots of 1981, a child is born to a mother surveilled and detained. She is born with the scent of orange blossoms and a body filled with pain. They call her Maryam Tair. A special, singular child, she is prophesized to carry three perfect gifts--and one relentless curse...