A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution

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Overview

A well-known novelist and journalist from the coastal city of Jableh, Samar Yazbek witnessed in person and actively participated in the first four months of the Syrian intifada. Throughout she kept a diary of personal reflections. Her outspoken views published in print, online, and on Facebook quickly attracted the attention and fury of the regime, as vicious rumors spread about her disloyalty to the homeland and the Alawite community from which she comes. This narrative weaves together her struggle to protect ...

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A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution

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Overview

A well-known novelist and journalist from the coastal city of Jableh, Samar Yazbek witnessed in person and actively participated in the first four months of the Syrian intifada. Throughout she kept a diary of personal reflections. Her outspoken views published in print, online, and on Facebook quickly attracted the attention and fury of the regime, as vicious rumors spread about her disloyalty to the homeland and the Alawite community from which she comes. This narrative weaves together her struggle to protect herself and her young daughter after she is forced to leave her home and live on the run, detained multiple times, and eventually flees to Europe.

Filled with exhilarating hope and horrifying atrocities, A Woman in the Crossfire offers us a wholly unique perspective on the Syrian uprising. Yazbek's is a modest yet powerful testament to the strength and commitment of countless unnamed Syrians who dream of bringing an end to a forty-year-old dictatorship. Their fight for their dignity will inspire all those who read this book and challenge the world to look anew at the trials and tribulations of the Syrian uprising.

Samar Yazbek has published several novels and collections of short stories, the most recent of which is In Her Mirrors. An excerpt of her novel Cinnamon was published in the anthology Beirut 39 (Bloomsbury, 2010) and will be published by Haus in 2013.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An essential eyewitness account, and with luck an inaugural document in a Syrian literature that is uncensored and unchained."—Kirkus Reviews

"She has the novelist's eye for telling detail…Hers is the urgent task of showing the world what is happening. Thanks to her, we can read about the appalling things that go on in secret, underground places."—The Guardian

"Her book is infused with a hauntingly poetic narrative style. Chilling, disturbing, but irresistibly compelling."—The Daily Star

"Four new books confront the [Syrian] revolution head-on…Of the four writers, Samar Yazbek provides the most arresting, novelistic prose…uncompromising reportage from a doomed capital."—The Spectator

"Impassioned and harrowing memoir of the early revolt…"—New York Review of Books

"The heartbreaking diary of…a Syrian who risked her life to document the regime's brutal attacks on peaceful demonstrators."—The Inquirer

"Its importance is in its existence, the effort of so many Syrians to share their stories and Yazbek's own courage and ability to record them."—The National

"It's heavy and horrible, like so much related to the war. But the book also reminds that Syria is—was—utterly beautiful."—CNN

'If you want to put a face on the Syrian revolution, try an activist named Samar Yazbek…she’s a walking refutation of the argument that the conflict in Syria is simply a sectarian civil war between Assad’s Alawites and the Sunni majority. —David Ignatius, Washington Post

Kirkus Reviews
Haunting memoir of an unwanted season in the hellish combat of civil war. Syrian writer and filmmaker Yazbek, a member of the literary movement called the Beirut39, will be new to most readers outside the Middle East. Both beautifully written--sometimes incongruously so, given the subject matter--and relentless, her narrative opens with the heady days of the Arab Spring, when the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt were giving way to popular uprisings and the edifice of Syria's security state was being shaken by an awakened people. "They could not and would not believe that this army of slaves, whom they called ‘insects' or ‘rats,' could ever rise up against them," writes the Syrian-German novelist Rafik Schami in his foreword of the stunningly corrupt Assad regime. But on March 15 of last year, the "slaves" did revolt. The regime hit back hard, spraying crowds of unarmed, peaceful demonstrators with bullets. As Yazbek writes, almost by way of prelude to this terrible chronicle of events experienced firsthand, "Death is no longer a question. Death is a window we open up to our questions." Death is also a constant, grim companion in these pages; it drew close as undercover agents interrogated and harassed Yazbek, receding as, eventually, she fled the country. The images she paints are indelible, pictures of "men on their stomachs in handcuffs, humiliated and insulted," and of youngsters defiantly baring their chests to the security police before being gunned down. "Sure, I was panicked," she writes, "but through that panic I learned how to cultivate a dark patch in my heart, a zone that no one can reach, one that remains fixed, where not even death can penetrate." An essential eyewitness account, and with luck an inaugural document in a Syrian literature that is uncensored and unchained.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781908323125
  • Publisher: Haus Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/28/2012
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 974,100
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in 1970 in Kable, in the Alaouite region of Syria, Samar Yazbek studied literature before becoming a journalist and a script writer for Syrian and cinema. Her novels include Child of Heaven, Clay, Cinnamon (forthcoming from Haus, 2013), and In Her Mirrors.

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