In Praise of Hatred by Khaled Khalifa

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If her hatred is born in part of self-loathing, the novel hints at a tolerance that flows from self-acceptance – and has women's freedom firmly at its heart.
-Guardian

Synopsis

In 1980s Syria, a young Muslim girl lives a secluded life behind the veil in the vast and perfumed house of her grandparents. Her three aunts-the pious Maryam, the liberal Safaa, and the free-spirited Marwa-raise her with the aid of their ever-devoted blind servant.

Soon the high walls of the family home are no longer able to protect the girl from the social and political chaos outside. Witnessing the ruling dictatorship's bloody campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, she is filled with hatred for the regime and becomes increasingly radical. In the footsteps of her beloved uncle, Bakr, she launches herself into a battle for her religion, her country, and ultimately, for her own future.

With this layered novel, Khaled Khalifa has crafted a thrilling yet heartful coming-of-age tale of a girl who must examine her loyalties and fight to prove them both to others and to herself. In Praise of Hatred is a stirring story narrated against the backdrop of real-life events that feel less like history and more like the present, echoing the violence plaguing the Middle East today.

 

About Khaled Khalifa

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Khaled Khalifa was born in 1964, in a village close to Aleppo, Syria. He is the fifth child of a family of thirteen siblings. He has a Bachelor degree in Law and actively participated in the foundation of Aleph magazine with a group of writers and poets. A few months later, the magazine was forbidden by the Syrian censorship. He currently lives in Damascus where he writes scripts for cinema and television.
 
Published April 8, 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
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Critic reviews for In Praise of Hatred
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Maya Jaggi on Sep 14 2012

If her hatred is born in part of self-loathing, the novel hints at a tolerance that flows from self-acceptance – and has women's freedom firmly at its heart.

Read Full Review of In Praise of Hatred | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Apr 22 2014

The episodic design of the story doesn't lend itself much to a dramatic rendering of these difficult years in Syria's history. I went around and around from fascination to boredom to pleasure and back again. Overall, if you can muster the patience, this novel will teach you some important things about this still mysterious time and place.

Read Full Review of In Praise of Hatred | See more reviews from NPR

Reader Rating for In Praise of Hatred
52%

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