Paul Blezard reviews The Broken Mirrors/Sinalcol by Elias Khoury translated by Humphrey Davies Maclehose Press, UK, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-84866-982-6, 441pp, hbk, £19.99. ebook £12.99.
A wonderful, scintillating web of a tale
Forty years ago Lebanese-born Elias Khoury published a debut novel An ‘ilaqat al-da’ira (On Circular Connections) and launched an impressive literary career that has produced thirteen novels, three plays, four volumes of literary criticism and has seen him seen him serve as the editor-in-chief of the cultural supplement of the daily Beirut newspaper An-Nahar.
Along the way his work has been translated into thirteen languages, he has been hailed as a leading public intellectual, described by World Literature Today as “arguably the finest living Arab novelist” and won legions of admirers from readers and fellow authors alike for his ability to tackle big-theme political issues through the prism of finely drawn characters and their often questionable behaviour.
In his latest work, The Broken Mirrors/Sinacol, superbly translated by the gifted, award-winning Humphrey Davies, all Khoury’s skill and experience, both as a writer and a storyteller is brought to bear as he explores the disruptive and destructive effects of civil war on the residents of Beirut’s divided city.
Central to this tale is Karim, a doctor who fled the civil war to take up residence in France where he extols the fragrant joys of Lebanese apples and Turkish coffee to his ever more distant wife,
182 BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015
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