Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!
With the acclaim won by her first two novels, Hanan al-Shaykh established herself as the Arab world’s foremost woman writer. Beirut Blues, published to similar acclaim, further confirms her place in Arabic literature, and brings her writing to a new, groundbreaking level.
The daring fragmented structure of this epistolary novel mirrors the chaos surrounding the heroine, Asmahan, as she futilely writes letters to her loved ones, to her friends, to Beirut, and to the war itself—letters of lament that are never to be answered except with their own resounding echoes. In Beirut Blues, Hanan al-Shaykh evokes a Beirut that has been seen by few, and that will never be seen again.
“What unifies [this] novel’s shattered universe is the presence, everywhere in her prose, of the low unabated fever of human desire. . ..In this, her finest novel, fluently translated by Catherine Cobham, Hana al-Shaykh makes that act of remembrance, joining it to an unforgettable portrait of a broken city. It should be read by everyone who cares about the truths behind the clichéd Beirut of the TV news; and by everyone who cares about the more endearing and universal, truths of the heart.”—Salman Rushdie
“Like the best modern political novels, Beirut Blues is not a political statement, fingers are not pointed without understanding. Hanan al-Shaykh's vision is unbelieving and yet full of faith.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A warm and hauntingly melancholic new novel . . . [by] one of the most daring and controversial female writers of the Middle East.”—San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle
“A finely wrought epistolary novel of lament and loss that mourns the fate of a beloved city . . . lovely measured writing from a voice deserving to be heard.”—Kirkus Reviews