White Masks by Elias Khoury

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It is unfortunate, then, that the overriding impression is of a collection of interconnected short stories being forced into the shape of a rather unsatisfying novel.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Why was the corpse of Khalil Ahmad Jaber found in a mound of garbage? Why had this civil servant disappeared weeks before his horrific death? Who was this man? A journalist begins to piece together an answer by speaking with his widow, a local engineer, a watchman, the garbage man who discovered him, the doctor who performed the autopsy, and a young militiaman. Their stories emerge, along with the horrors of Lebanon’s bloody civil war and its ravaging effects on the psyches of the survivors. With empathy and candor, Elias Khoury reveals the havoc the war wreaked on Beirut and its inhabitants, as well as the resilience of a 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, 2010 by Archipelago. 306 pages
Genres: War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Wayne Gooderham on Mar 22 2013

It is unfortunate, then, that the overriding impression is of a collection of interconnected short stories being forced into the shape of a rather unsatisfying novel.

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