Review by The Mole
Anoush Pakradounian returns to Beirut to cover war trials of genocide, as a journalist. She is also searching for answers of her own. Her father is posthumously on trial but she wants to merely spectate and try to understand his guilt and hope that, somehow, he will not be found guilty. The root of his actions stems back to 1915, even before he was born and she tries to unravel 4 generations of conflict to understand.
I won't say this book is an easy and unputdownable read because it's anything but. It is covering a lot of violent history and it is doing it in a way to bring home to the reader not just the history, but the why of it a little bit as well.
I did find this book an enlightenment. During the 80s and 90s I was very focused on my career with little time for the news, although the warring and slaughter in Beirut and the Lebanon was always there. I understood it to be always Israel against the Palestinians with innocent bystanders caught up in it. It was much more though, as I now find out. Although this book is entirely a work of fiction it is based on historic fact and it is well done.
We keep time slipping, both backwards and forwards, over the 4 generations as we see genocide being inflicted time and again and we start to understand how each new generation feels that it is necessary to redress the balance. It's a journey that involves the reader and justifies each character's actions - until we return to Anoush who feels that it's time to stop. There is a love story involved too and I was concerned it was going to become just a romance but the author avoids that and focuses only on what is important.
One thing I would like to have seen in this book is a family tree with other characters just listed so that as we meet characters again we remind ourselves where they fit in.
A very good book and one that should be compulsory reading, at least that's my opinion.
Publisher - Hardie Grant
Genre - Adult historical fiction
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