Gate of the Sun by Elias Khoury

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Gate of the Sun is the first magnum opus of the Palestinian saga. After their country is torn apart in 1948, two men remain alone in a deserted makeshift hospital in the Shatila camp on the outskirts of Beirut. We enter a vast world of displacement, fear, and tenuous hope. Khalil holds vigil at the bedside of his patient and spiritual father, a storied leader of the Palestinian resistance who has slipped into a coma. As Khalil attempts to revive Yunes, he begins a story, which branches into many. Stories of the people expelled from their villages in Galilee, of the massacres that followed, of the extraordinary inner strength of those who survived, and of love. Khalil—like Elias Khoury—is a truth collector, trying to make sense of the fragments and various versions of stories that have been told to him. His voice is intimate and direct, his memories are vivid, his humanity radiates from every page. Khalil lets his mind wander through time, from village to village, from one astonishing soul to another, and takes us with him. Gate of the Sun is a Palestinian Odyssey. Beautifully weaving together haunting stories of survival and loss, love and devastation, memory and dream, Khoury humanizes the complex Palestinian struggle as he brings to life the story of an entire people.

About Elias Khoury

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Elias Khoury, born in Beirut, is the author of thirteen novels, four volumes of literary criticism, and three plays. He was awarded the Palestine Prize for Gate of the Sun, which was named Best Book of the Year by Le Monde Diplomatique, The Christian Science Monitor, and The San Fransisco Chronicle, and a Notable Book by The New York Times. Khoury¢s Yalo, White Masks, Little Mountain, The Journey of Little Gandhi, and City Gates are also available in English. Khoury is a Global Distinguished Professor of Middle Eastern and Arabic Studies at New York University. As Though She Were Sleeping received France¢s inaugural Arabic novel Prize. Marilyn Booth holds the Iraq Chair in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Her publications include Harem Histories: Envisioning Places and Living Spaces and May Her Likes Be Multiplied: Biography and Gender Politics in Egypt. She has translated over a dozen works of Arabic fiction, including novels by Hoda Barakat, Hamdi Abu Golayyel, Alia Mamdouh, Somaya Ramadan, and Latifa al-Zayyat. Booth received the AATA Translation Prize in ‘81, the University of Arkansas Arabic Literature Translation Prize in ‘94, and was runner-up for the 2007 Saif al-Ghobashi Banipal International Arabic Translation Award.
Published March 1, 2012 by Archipelago. 554 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Gate of the Sun

Kirkus Reviews

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His stories, one building on the next, become a history and ethnography of the Palestinian people from that year of massacres and flight to the post-1967 loss of even the hope of a homeland and on to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon: A woman explains that she has a duty to return to her ances...

Dec 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Gate of the Sun

The New York Times

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dapted from a novel by the Lebanese writer Elias Khoury, Yousry Nasrallah's "Gate of the Sun" is a long (nearly 5 hours), anguished epic of Palestinian history.

Oct 16 2004 | Read Full Review of Gate of the Sun

The New York Times

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The narrator in Elias Khoury's novel tells stories to a dying friend.

Jan 15 2006 | Read Full Review of Gate of the Sun

The Guardian

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As Yunis's life emerges in its "scattered fragments - from Palestine to Lebanon, from Lebanon to Syria, from one prison to another", the novel traces the meshed histories of Lebanon and Palestine, from the 1930s to the 1990s.

Nov 12 2005 | Read Full Review of Gate of the Sun

Publishers Weekly

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First published in 1998 in Arabic by a Beirut publisher, and then translated into Hebrew and French, this book was Le Monde Diplomatique 's Book of the Year in 2002;

Nov 21 2005 | Read Full Review of Gate of the Sun

London Review of Books

Bab al-Shams was no ordinary village, but a tent encampment set up by Palestinian activists, a number of them veterans of the Popular Resistance Committees who have been organising weekly demonstrations against the ‘separation fence’ in the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in.

Jan 16 2013 | Read Full Review of Gate of the Sun

Bookmarks Magazine

Marjorie Kehe Minneapolis Star Tribune 4 of 5 Stars "This is a profoundly realistic novel.

Aug 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Gate of the Sun


"And after the Israelis went into Beirut, after each new thing that happened, you'd spit as though you were wiping out the past, and you'd say, `Back to the beginning.'" The Gate of the Sun is his powerful deliverance on that promise.

Aug 17 2006 | Read Full Review of Gate of the Sun

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