|Author/Contributor(s):||Douaihy, Jabbour ; Haydar, Paula|
|Condition:||USED – Very good. An unmarked copy with tight binding and some moderate shelf wear.|
A love letter to a city of his childhood, Jabbour Douaihy's The American Quarter is set in a small neighborhood in Tripoli, the ancient port on the northern coast of Lebanon. Unfolding at the height of the US-led invasion of Iraq, it revolves around the radicalization of an ordinary youth named Ismail. But Ismail's story is part of a larger portrait of those nearest to him: the young disabled brother he looks out for; his father Bilal, a massacre survivor; Intisar, his spirited, indulgent mother, a maid like her mother before her in the wealthy, powerful Azzam household; Abdelkarim, the Azzam family's only son, addicted to poetry and opera, and pining for his lost Polish ballerina--all sharply depicted by Douaihy with irony and affection.
As well, Ismail's fate is entwined with the disappointments and meager prospects of those around him in the deteriorating American Quarter, and others forced to crisscross the surrounding conflict-scarred lands. Somehow Ismail's reckoning with his assigned mission comes to reflect our own struggles--for redemption, for faith in life in the face of destructive forces that can erase in an instant what is dear to us. A classic tale for our time, in a lucid translation by Paula Haydar, The American Quarter is a compassionate work of great beauty. Paying homage to the persistent presence of a beloved old city and her people, it bolsters us with a gifted writer's long view of the threats to trust and tolerance we now face.