This volume is a nonfiction addition to the almost forgotten canon of published letters. Etel Adnan's letters begin in June 1990, focused on feminism and written for a Paris-based magazine planning a special issue on Arab women. Eventually, her letters become more of a travel journal as she visits London, France, southern Spain, Berlin, Frankfurt, the Greek islands, Beirut and Rome, commenting on women and other matters over a two-year period.
The little we know of Etel Adnan herself must be gleaned from stream-of-consciousness letters: her childhood was spent in Beirut, she's a painter, she speaks of Paris as home, her mother was Greek. "Written against the background of war at the turn of this century, this millenniumthe Gulf War, the Lebanese civil war and the military occupations of that country, the author's country of originthese letters, OF CITIES AND WOMEN, are in their turn now letters to cities and womenthat we, that is, women and men alike, might eventually, before it is too late, 'find the right geography for our revelations." Barbara Harlow
Etel Adnan is one of the greatest artists of our time, one of the wisest I have ever met, and a great inspiration to many people. Her "Of Cities and Women" letter omnibus relates to cities like her place of birth Beirut, London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Rome and many more. Oskar Kokoschka said you can't paint a city, it escapes you. Etel Adnan captured them in her writtings and portrays them as places of understanding and revelation. Reading her is addictive.