Bend Like the Willow is a many layered story of a young naive American girl who sets out for her first year of university and finds instead a shocking introduction into a cross-cultural marriage of contradiction, mystery and eventual heartbreak with a darkly handsome Moslem Arab-Algerian man.
“If I take you to my country, you must learn to bend like the willow or you will snap,” he tells her.
Along the path to bending like the willow she discovers that life in post-war Algeria with two babies is as fraught with danger and sadness as is the man she married. Both are burdened with hopes and expectations that can never be fulfilled.
In the end, it is the tale of a woman who loves a man and a man who loves his country. He is so committed to honouring his love of country and tradition that he fulfills the promise he made to his wife’s father, even though it both saves and breaks apart four lives.