Moving the Palace by Charif Majdalani

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It is ultimately about finding a home in a place tossed about by conflict, where the desert is ever-encroaching, where the past is as alive as the present, and jokes — thank goodness — help us to keep forging onward.
-NY Times

Synopsis

At the dawn of the 20th century, a young Lebanese explorer leaves the Levant for the wilds of Africa, encountering an eccentric English colonel in Sudan and enlisting in his service. In this lush chronicle of far-flung adventure, the military recruit crosses paths with a compatriot who has dismantled a sumptuous palace in Tripoli and is transporting it across the continent on a camel caravan. The protagonist soon takes charge of this hoard of architectural fragments, ferrying the dismantled landmark through Sudan, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula, attempting to return to his native Beirut with this moveable real estate. Along the way, he encounters skeptic sheikhs, suspicious tribal leaders, bountiful feasts, pilgrims bound for Mecca and T.E. Lawrence in a tent. This is a captivating modern-day Odyssey in the tradition of Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux.

Charif Majdalani, born in Lebanon in 1960, is often likened to a Lebanese Proust. He teaches French literature at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut. Moving the Palace is the winner of the prestigious François Mauriac Prize from the Académie Française as well as the Prix Tropiques.

 

About Charif Majdalani

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Charif Majdalani, born in Lebanon in 1960, is often compared to a Lebanese Proust. Majdalani lived in France from 1980 to 1993 and now teaches French literature at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut. The original French version of his novel Moving the Palace won the 2008 François Mauriac Prize from the Académie Française as well as the Prix Tropiques.Edward Gauvin has received prizes and fellowships including those awarded by PEN America, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright program. His work has won the John Dryden Translation Prize and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award. He has translated over 200 graphic novels.
 
Published March 20, 2017 by New Vessel Press. 200 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction
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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Suzanne Joinson on Jun 02 2017

It is ultimately about finding a home in a place tossed about by conflict, where the desert is ever-encroaching, where the past is as alive as the present, and jokes — thank goodness — help us to keep forging onward.

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