Author: Iman Humaydan Younes
Goodreads Synopsis: The four interlocking narratives that make up this extraordinary novel belong to four women who live in the same apartment building in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. There is Lilian with her two children, desperate to emigrate, with or without her husband. Warda cannot recover from the loss of her daughter, and finds that no matter how many times she goes over it, the story of her life no longer makes sense. Camilia has returned to Beirut to make a film about her former homeland, but becomes irrevocably caught up in its violence. Maha remains in the building even as her family, her neighbors, her city and country fracture around her. As the war continues each day, unending, divisions between past and present begin to break down. Younes’s intimate, haunting attention to these women’s lives creates an unforgettable portrait not only of her characters but of the nature of war. Here, loss is the city’s most constant resident and its story will inevitably overcome all the rest.
Review: There is something intriguing about a story that is all over the place. To be honest, at times I was confused on each individual story and I started to dislike what I was reading. But I kept going and the more I read, the more it sounded real. Like a person who is trying desperately to tell you their story, a story of misery and death where in the end everyone is left alone.
Yes, it sounds depressing, but it was and still is life in the Middle East. Just because this story is based on the Lebanese Civil War (You can read more here and here) it doesn’t mean that the lives of these people aren’t still difficult (see here for a most recent article).
I gave it 3 stars because there were times when it was really hard to read this. I think I would have enjoyed it better maybe if there was only one story instead of 4. Need another inspiration of a book similar? It didn’t provide me with the emotional connection I was looking for like The Kite Runner did.
However, I would still recommend it to people who aren’t familiar with the hardships of these countries. It will open your eyes to not only a better understanding but one of yourself and your life.