“Khalid and Irene are like two tectonic plates—when friction arises between them, their relationship is shaken to its core. Coming from two separate experiences – American Irene, who lived a privileged East Coast childhood, and Palestinian Khalid, who lost nearly all of the significant people in his life to war — the two come together with great passion that later gives way to uncertainty and distrust, shaking their faith in each other. Their rocky journey towards mutual trust is at the center of Kim Jensen’s debut novel The Woman I Left Behind.”—Maureen Clare Murphy, The Electronic Intifada

“A beautifully written and promising first novel”—Middle East Studies Association Bulletin

“This is a love story with an edge to it, a novel that is daring in style and content, a riveting exploration of the place where politics, culture and psychology intersect, where a history of wars collides with everyday life.”—Jordan Times

“Debut novelist Jensen, winner of the 2001 Raymond Carver Prize for Short Fiction, powerfully portrays Khalid’s boyhood amid the violence of the Middle East and the proud but complicated family that he either lost or left behind…the tale is well crafted, with its scenes of high drama and great sex. A first novel that offers a lot more than most. — Kirkus Reviews

“This is a revolutionary love story…an important book for the years ahead.” — Fanny Howe

“Packed with politics and sensuality, warm as bread baked in a Palestinian village bakery and passionate as California’s purple jacaranda, The Woman I left Behind is a marvelously told tale, a timely offering for American and Arab readers to view themselves in the other’s intimate and unsparing mirror.”— Sharif S. Elmusa, Al-Ahram Weekly; Co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry
“…the universality of the human issues addressed in Jensen’s debut novel assures its appeal to a broad audience, while the richness of the writing enhances that allure. Jensen’s description is artistic, her voice honest, her politics informed…[an] excellent novel.”—Washington Report on Middle East Affairs