Forbidden Lie$

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Posted April 9, 2009 in Film

Norma Khouri, author of the best-selling novel Forbidden Love, spoke out like a brave angel. Her best friend Dalia had fallen in love with a soldier named Michael at the hair salon the women ran together. Only Dalia was a Muslim, Michael a Christian and the hair salon in Jordan. Dalia’s father and brothers stabbed her to death—an “honor killing”—after which Khouri fled to Athens where she channeled her anger into a novel first typed at Internet cafes, then printed by 16 publishers and purchased by over a quarter of a million outraged readers around the world. Khouri said she was a 36-year-old virgin with a fatwa on her head. But then an Australian journalist reported that Khouri was really a mother of two married to a Greek with Mafia ties—and worse, that she’d left Jordan for Chicago when she was just four—far too young to be clipping hair and worrying about romance (Jordanians were tipped off earlier, when on page two, Khouri mistakenly wrote that their homeland was bordered by Kuwait.). In this fascinating and slowly unraveling documentary, filmmaker Anna Broinowski gives Khouri the chance to explain herself, and finds that the more adamantly the novelist sticks to her story, the harder it is to believe—even when Khouri insists on taking her sweet-voiced inquisitor on a tour of Jordan. After Khouri is exposed as a credit fraud under FBI investigation and her credibility is shot, Forbidden Lie$ holds our attention with Khouri’s increasingly brazen and unrepentant insistence that she’s the only voice of truth in a violent world. (Amy Nicholson)

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