Milia’s response to her new husband Mansour and to the Arab World of 1947 is to close her eyes and drift into parallel worlds. Identities shift. Present, past, and future mingle and merge: she finds herself able to converse with the dead and foresee the future. As the novel progresses in glimpses, Milia’s dreams become more navigable than the strange and obstinate “reality” in which she finds herself, and the two realms grow ever more entangled. This wondrous tapestry of love, faith, history, poetry, and vision cuts to the very heart of the deep-rooted conflicts of the region and breaks new literary ground.
Elias Khoury's latest novel returns to a golden age. Beirut in the '30s, unoccupied Palestine and a love affair recalled through a set of dream sequences: an Arab spring of a very different sort.
— Tariq Ali
There has been powerful fiction about Palestinians and by Palestinians, but few have held to the light the myths, tales and rumors of both Israel and the Arabs with such discerning compassion.
— New York Times Book Review
The beautiful, resilient city of Beirut belongs to Khoury.
— Los Angeles Times Book Review
No Lebanese writer has been more successful than Elias Khoury in telling the story of Lebanon ... Khoury is one of the most innovative novelists in the Arab world.
— Washington Post Book World
An immersive reading experience.... A dreamy account of a woman who slips in and out of consciousness, whose inner reality hides from but cannot help but absorb the chaotic world outside of her ... The outside world rushes onward, inevitably, and yet Meelya’s inner dream world circles around itself, creating a sensual whirlpool. The conflict between these two worlds makes for an enchanting and singular read.
— Jessa Crispin, Kirkus Reviews
An enchanting hymn to the Middle East, infused with the richness and beauty of classical Arabic poetry.
— The Guardian (UK)
Elias Khoury is a pure storyteller. A writer who understands the hypnotic power of words, and who lets this power become the actual subject of his books. Of course, alongside the words, there is reality, palpable, sensuous, atrocious.
— Le Nouvel Observateur
Enthralling ... Mesmerizing.
— The Economist (UK)
Gives the flavor of a very important novelist's core philosophies and obsessions through a woman's last memories. . . . Marilyn Booth does well rebuilding the book's carefully crafted, circling sentences in smooth English.
— M. Lynx Qualey, Minneapolis Star-Tribune