By Rabih Alameddine
An astonishingly artistic, splendidly exuberant novel that takes us from the shimmering dunes of historic Egypt to the war-torn streets of twenty-first-century Lebanon.
In 2003, Osama al-Kharrat returns to Beirut after decades in the USA to face vigil at his father’s deathbed. town is a shell of the Beirut Osama recalls, yet he and his family and friends take solace within the issues that experience continually sustained them: gossip, laughter, and, particularly, stories.
Osama’s grandfather used to be a hakawati, or storyteller, and his bewitching stories—of his arrival in Lebanon, an orphan of the Turkish wars, and of the way he earned the identify al-Kharrat, the fibster—are interwoven with vintage stories of the center East, stunningly reimagined. listed below are Abraham and Isaac; Ishmael, father of the Arab tribes; the traditional, fabled Fatima; and Baybars, the slave prince who vanquished the Crusaders. the following, too, are modern Lebanese whose tales inform a bigger, heartbreaking story of likely unending war—and of survival.
Like a real hakawati, Rabih Alameddine has given us an Arabian Nights for this century—a humorous, pleasing novel that enchants and dazzles from its first actual traces: “Listen. enable me take you on a trip past imagining. allow me inform you a story.”
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He was totally stupid, no doubt. Twice stupid, as a matter of fact. ” “And we know he’s cleaned up . . ” “Because,” Brian said, “the Tigers wouldn’t have signed him if he hadn’t. ” She smiled now, mostly to herself, and said, “That’s what I keep trying to be. ” Brian leaned forward, hands out, almost like he was reaching for her. “Mom,” he said, “you get why this is a totally cool 31 M i k e L upi ca thing, right? What a cool thing this can be for Hank and the Tigers? Because if he has a good season, then all the drug stuff and the way he’s messed up won’t be the last thing people remember about him.
Finn’s chair was down the third-base line, at the point where the stands were closest to the ﬁeld. Finn had told Brian his name for the summer should be Foul Ball Simpkins. For now, though, the two of them got to enjoy watching batting practice. Brian still felt stupid excited as he watched Hank Bishop get ready to take his cuts with the rest of the regulars. Davey Schoﬁeld would be using him as his DH tonight and batting him ﬁfth in the order. The Tigers’ ﬁrst-base coach, Rudy Tavarez, was throwing batting practice today.
Stinking . . way,” Brian said. “Way,” Kenny said. ” Hank Bishop had been out of baseball for a year and a half, ﬁrst because of a ﬁfty-game steroids suspension, then because no club in either league had signed him this spring when he was eligible to play again. He was thirty-ﬁve now, about to turn thirty-six on the Fourth of July. Brian knew that the way he knew everything there was to know about Hank Bishop. But now the Tigers, who needed a right-handed bat to come off the bench and act as a designated hitter occasionally, had brought him back to Detroit, given him one last chance to be something close to what he was.