The Mehlis Report
  • The Mehlis Report
  • The Mehlis Report

The Mehlis Report

4.7 17
by Rabee Jaber
     
 

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The English-language debut of 2012’sInternational Arabic Fiction Prize winner

A complex thriller, The Mehlis Report introduces English readers to a highly talented Arabic writer. When former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri is killed by a massive bomb blast, the U.N. appoints German judge Detlev Mehlisto conduct an investigation of the

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Overview

The English-language debut of 2012’sInternational Arabic Fiction Prize winner

A complex thriller, The Mehlis Report introduces English readers to a highly talented Arabic writer. When former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri is killed by a massive bomb blast, the U.N. appoints German judge Detlev Mehlisto conduct an investigation of the attack — while explosions continue to rock Beirut. Mehlis’s report is eagerly awaited by the entire Lebanese population.

First we meet Saman Yarid, a middle-aged architect who wanders the tense streets of Beirut and, like everyone else in the city, can’t stop thinking about the pending report. Saman’s sister Josephine, who was kidnapped in 1983,narrates the second part of The Mehlis Report: Josephine is dead, yet exists in a bizarre underworld in the bowels of Beirut where the dead are busy writing their memoirs. Then the ghost of Hariri himself appears… 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lebanese novelist Jaber receives his first English translation as he follows Beirut architect Saman Yarid from restaurant to restaurant and date to date in the hectic period after Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's 2005 assassination. As Yarid's unremarkable routine unfolds across tense days, we're privy not only to his architect's-eye view of Beirut's structures and neighborhoods, but to painstaking descriptions of the cosmopolitan city's gastronomy, going some way towards accomplishing for Beirut what Ulysses did for Dublin. Fascinatingly, Jaber treats the violence and tension of a city on edge as a spice that subtly flavors and affects Yarid's days. He is an uncontemplative narrator, living simply and in the moment, and relates to few friends or family members. To that end, Jaber executes a surprising twist at the halfway point by introducing chapters ethereally narrated by Yarid's late sister Josephine, a victim of the Lebanese violence of the 1980's. The shift in tone might be jarring to some, but for others, the details of what that afterlife entails are handled with wit and flair, marking Jaber as an absorbing stylist. With 15 novels under to his name, hopefully we see even more of Jaber's work in translation. (June)
The New York Review of Books
“Jaber’s novel evokes this unsettled period with frightening precision. Like several of his other books, The Mehlis Report is held together less by its plot or characters than by its uncanny way of capturing the zeitgeist. It reads like a historical novel that happens to be about the very recent past. Jaber seems to think of fiction primarily as a speculative way of writing history. It is not so much concerned with what happened as with what might have happened. He views the past not as an accumulation of facts (though the facts are important), but as a field of unrealized potential, a series of paths not taken, or missed opportunities.”
Alan Cheuse - NPR
“This novel is a bittersweet love song to Beirut. This novel — this elegy for a lost Beirut, past and future — this novel was carrying me to a place I had never been before.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811221184
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
07/11/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
1 MB

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