A Girl Made of Dust

A "beautifully written, lyrical . . . completely believable" prize-winning novel about a girl's coming of age in war-torn Lebanon (Publishers Weekly). In her peaceful town outside Beirut, Ruba is slowly awakening to the shifting contours within her household: hardly speaking and refusing to work, her father has inexplicably withdrawn from his family in favor of his favorite armchair; her once-youthful mother looks so sad that Ruba imagines her heart must have withered like a fig in the heat; and Ruba's brother, Naji, is spending less time with Ruba than he is with older friends, some of whom carry guns. In trying to salvage her family, Ruba uncovers a secret from her father's past. It sends her on a journey far from the fantasies of youth and into a brutal reality where men kill in the name of faith and race, old wrongs remain unforgiven, and where nothing less than self-sacrifice and unity can offer survival. But as Israeli troops invade...
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Oliver of the Levant

It's 1969 and the world is alight with revolution. Oliver Lawrence, a Bondi Beach kid, is transported to one of the world's most bewitching cities: Beirut in the Levant.The city is on the verge of civil war, but Oliver, who idolises Jimi Hendrix and Lawrence of Arabia, is more concerned with holding his family together. This mission becomes complicated as Oliver's ravishing, gin-swilling stepmother, Babette, and cavalier playboy pilot father indulge in unbridled expatriate partying. And Babette has a secret that Oliver is determined to uncover. Beirut is a confusing place to learn how to be a man, involving snipers, codes of honour and purloined letters. As Lebanon begins to disintegrate, no one can avoid being caught in the crossfire.It's bad enough when Oliver develops a very public crush on the local warlord's girlfriend, but it turns disastrous when his young guerrilla friend, 'Ringo', enlists his misguided enthusiasm to turn his exploding cigar magic trick into a...
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June Rain

On 16 June 1957, a shoot-out in a village church in northern Lebanon leaves two dozen people dead. In the aftermath of the massacre, the town is rent in two: the Al-Ramis in the north and their rivals the Al-Samaeenis in the south. But lives once so closely intertwined cannot easily be divided. Neighbours turn into enemies and husbands and wives are forced to choose between loyalty to each other and loyalty to their clan.Drawing on an actual killing that took place in his home town, Douaihy reconstructs that June day from the viewpoints of people who witnessed the killing or whose lives were forever altered by it. A young girl overhears her father lending his gun to his cousins, but refusing to accompany them to the church. A school boy walks past the dead bodies, laid out in the town square on beds brought out from the houses. A baker whose shop is trapped on the wrong side of the line hopes the women who buy his bread will protect him. At the center of the portrait is...
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Always Coca-Cola

The story of three different young women marks the literary debut of an amazing writer from LebanonAlways Coca-Cola is the story of three very different young women attending university in Beirut: Abeer, Jana, and Yasmine. The narrator, Abeer Ward (fragrant rose, in Arabic), daughter of a conservative family, admits wryly that her name is also the name of her father's flower shop. Abeer's bedroom window is filled by a view of a Coca-Cola sign featuring the image of her sexually adventurous friend, Jana. From the novel's opening paragraph—"When my mother was pregnant with me, she had only one craving. That craving was for Coca Cola" —first-time novelist Alexandra Chreiteh asks us to see, with wonder, humor, and dismay, how inextricably confused naming and desire, identity and branding. The names—and the novel's edgy, cynical humor—might be recognizable across languages, cultures, and geographies. But Chreiteh's novel is first and foremost an...
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