Magazine article New Internationalist

Just like a River

Magazine article New Internationalist

Just like a River

Article excerpt

(Arris Books, ISBN 1 84437 003 8)

Although this novel by one of Syria's foremost intellectuals was published in Arabic in 1984, this English translation is both welcome and timely. The book follows the lives of a cross-section of Damascus society against a background of escalating tension and the imminent Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

As the narrative flows from character to character, we get to know the family of Chief Sergeant Yunis, a career soldier nearing retirement. His eldest son Muhsin is studying medicine in Russia, his daughter Dallal is at college in Damascus and his two young sons Muhammad and Ali are still at home. Yunis is building a house in his home village and he dreams of peaceful days there tending his vines and surrounded by his family. By the novel's end, his hopes are shattered and, estranged from his offspring, he is an embittered and lonely man. …

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