A book as unique as its subject matter - messy, incomplete, at times unreliable, yet as haunting and alluring as memories themselves.This elegy for a lost Beirut, past and future, this novel was carrying me to a place I had never been before.A slim, powerful volume, now in deft translation by Kareem James Abu-Zeid ... [Jaber] is a major force in Arabic literature.Clever and illuminating.Jaber shares a delight in stories that defy conventional ideas about identity and the relations between East and West.Jaber is interested in what it means to live in and with fear, not for one season but for a whole generation, two generations, three. He's interested in the bones of Beirut, a city that has had to rebuild itself repeatedly after being razed in war in 140 B.C., then devastated by the earthquake of 551, then again during the civil war, a city whose name derives from the Canaanite be'erot - wells" - the water table that still sustains it. He's interested in what lies beneath, what nourishes us without our knowing.[An] unflinching thriller about trauma and forgiveness, set in the chaos of the Lebanese Civil War.Abu-Zeid has made Rabee Jaber's Beirut part of our imaginary landscape and added him to our constellation of fiction writers."
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