Daoud refuses to engage with the rhetoric of heroism and tragedy that has tempted many writers on the Lebanese Civil War. Instead, he focuses on a single apartment building in Beirut, evoking with great restraint and economy the pattern of the ordinary lives of its Muslim and Christian tenants as society disintegrates around them. He quietly brings us to an understanding of the way in which the world of the Lebanese village, with its clan and family loyalties, was recreated in the city, and registers the country's sectarian divisions with great subtlety. When violence does intrude, it is all the more shocking in such an intimate setting. The rhythm of this short novel is that of domestic events - births, marriages, deaths and departures - but its larger theme, which it never forces upon us, is that of human survival despite the murderous simplicities of war.
Similar books by other authors
Used availability for Hassan Daoud's The House of Mathilde
March 1999 : UK Paperback