LIke the mythopoeic India of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, the main protagonist of Schami's encyclopedic, jigsaw puzzle of a novel is a country: Syria. In telling the story of a Romeo and Juliet-like romance between Farid Mushtak and Rana Shahin, two teens in Damascus in the late 1950s, Schami goes back through their family history, to the Ottoman era, and forwards to 1970. The baroque feud between their families is a microcosm of the internal, patriarchal violence from which the whole country suffers. George Mushtak and his bride, Laila, appear in the Christian village of Mala and begin to make inroads on the power base of Mala's most powerful man, Jusuf Shahin, beginning a multigenerational feud that creates a legacy of violence-George persecutes his own, Elias, who flees to Damascus, and Elias in turn persecutes his son, Farid; Rana well remembers how her aunt was the victim of an honor killing. Rana's bullying brother, Jack, marries her off; Farid goes from a punitive stay in a monastery to intensifying persecution and incarceration because of his dissident politics. Through Farid and Rana's romance, Schami gives voice to the entire chorus of Damascus life. Which is why, despite the grim plot line of revenge, this is essentially a joyous book, an exile's book of love and a surprisingly fast read. Schami, a major international talent, has a broad range, from the scatological to the sexually comic to the painful, and deserves to establish an American audience. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Dark Side of Loveby Rafik Schami
"A dead man hangs from the portal of St Paul's Chapel in Damascus. He was a Muslim officer - and he was murdered. But when Detective Barudi sets out to interrogate the man's mysterious widow, the Secret Service takes the case away from him. Barudi continues to investigate clandestinely and discovers the murderer's motive: it is a blood feud between the Mushtak and… See more details below
"A dead man hangs from the portal of St Paul's Chapel in Damascus. He was a Muslim officer - and he was murdered. But when Detective Barudi sets out to interrogate the man's mysterious widow, the Secret Service takes the case away from him. Barudi continues to investigate clandestinely and discovers the murderer's motive: it is a blood feud between the Mushtak and Shahin clans, reaching back to the beginnings of the 20th century. And, linked to it, a love story that can have no happy ending, for reconciliation has no place within the old tribal structures." Rafik Schami's novel spans a century of Syrian history in which politics and religions continue to torment an entire people. Simultaneously, his poetic stories from three generations tell of the courage of lovers who risk death sooner than deny their passions. He has also written a heartfelt tribute to his hometown Damascus and a great and moving hymn to the power of love.
- Interlink Publishing Group, Incorporated
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- 5.30(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.90(d)
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