Beirut Blues by Hanan Al-Shaykh

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With the acclaim won by her first two novels, Hanan al-Shaykh established herself as the Arab world's foremost woman writer. Beirut Blues, published to similar acclaim, further confirms her place in Arabic literature, and brings her writing to a new, groundbreaking level.

The daring fragmented structure of this epistolary novel mirrors the chaos surrounding the heroine, Asmahan, as she futilely writes letters to her loved ones, to her friends, to Beirut, and to the war itself--letters of lament that are never to be answered except with their own resounding echoes. In Beirut Blues, Hanan al-Shaykh evokes a Beirut that has been seen by few, and that will never be seen again.

About Hanan Al-Shaykh

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Hanan al-Shaykh, an award-winning journalist, novelist, and playwright, is the author of the short story collection I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops; the novels The Story of Zahra, Women of Sand and Myrrh, Beirut Blues, and Only in London; and a memoir about her mother, The Locust and the Bird. She was raised in Beirut, educated in Cairo, and lives in London.

Author Residence: London, England

Author Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon
Published April 10, 2013 by Anchor. 385 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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As she tells good friend Hayat, now living abroad, ``How can I answer your questions about the state of the country when my chief worry is the rat occupying our kitchen?'' In a letter to Jill Morell, the wife of a hostage, she describes how she too resembles the hostages since, like them, she has...

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Publishers Weekly

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Al-Shaykh's third novel takes the form of a series of letters through which a woman contrasts Beirut's cosmopolitan past with its disastrous present.

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Publishers Weekly

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In 10 letters addressed variously to the protagonist's lover, her grandmother, Billie Holiday, the land, the war and people, places and events, Asmahan remembers her beautiful, cosmopolitan Beirut and childhood friends, juxtaposing them with the city's grizzled, suspicious present and the occupie...

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