Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Lebanese authors

Books published lately by Lebanese authors

Stuff We Love. on Aug 28, 2016

By Lynn El Amine

This perpetual cycle of instability and joy gave birth to several generations of lovers, thinkers, artists, writers, rebels, and intellectuals making Lebanon a multi-cultural hub of creativity and literature.

To the Lebanese, creating life with words was not an idle activity, rather an unshakeable impulse that demanded to be tended to, time and time again.

Here are just a few of the must read books that portray the beauty that stems from that very impulse.

1. De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage

In this novel, protagonists Bassam and George tell tales of love, sex, and pain during Beirut’s civil war. The problems that the characters face in this novel are sadly problems that the Lebanese youth still faces today. Both a heart-melting and heart-breaking read.

Memorable Quotes:

– “Dust was friendly and loved us all. Dust was Beirut’s companion.”

– “Death does not come to you when you face it; death is full of treachery, a coward who only notices the feeble and strikes the blind.”

– “Ten thousand bombs had split the winds and my mother was still in the kitchen smoking her long, white cigarettes.”

2. Koolaids: The Art of War by Rabih Alameddine

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This book constantly jumps through space; through various journal entries by different characters, the reader is told two mirroring stories. The first is that of the civil war in Beirut, and the second being of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco. Rabih Alameddine’s whimsical writing style gives the reader a sense of closeness and identification with the struggles told in the book.

Memorable Quotes:

– “In the commemoration of death, I unearthed myself.”

– “The Syrians killed my father, but I blame Yoko.”

– “I did not really know the good old days. People started dying when I came out.”

3. Nietzsche’s Camel Must Die by Rewa Zeinati

This hilarious and refreshing gem reveals the adventures of Lebanese-American poet Rewa Zeinati in Beirut through a series of unrelated Facebook posts. Easy and fun to read, this book offers insight into different social issues found in Beirut, without the heaviness of facts and figures.

Memorable Quotes:

– “Right. So my gym membership expired. Finally. Now I can finally wake up, and not go to the gym, and not feel an ounce of guilt about it.”

– “Everything is a big fucking deal when you’re still under thirty.”

– “In a world that lacks, I’m not sure what’s the best thing one can be accused of. The second best thing must be: indecisiveness. It implies the availability of choice.”

4. An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

This book tells the tale of Aaliya, a childless divorced woman who is now cast as “unnecessary” by the society she lives in. An Unnecessary Woman does not only offer readers beautiful language, but it also offers insight into the lives and struggles of “unnecessary” women in Lebanese society.

Memorable Quotes:

– “If literature is my sandbox, then the real world is my hourglass — an hourglass that drains grain by grain. Literature gives me life, and life kills me.”

– “There is non more conformist than one who flaunts his individuality.”

– “I used to find old people, men and women, terribly narcissistic. All they ever want to do is talk about themselves. But then, what are these pages if not an exercise in narcissism?”

Of course, there are several Lebanese and non-Lebanese writers that have experienced Lebanon’s exciting ride through time, and many have described it in their literature. You can read about them here.

Why women write? (February 2, 2010)

A gathering of 50 Lebanese authors, mostly women, were invited to contribute a chapter on the topic “Why I write”.  The volume collected 50 developed reasons for the desire to write.

I intend to classify the reasons accompanied with succinct summaries.

An abbot wrote in 1771 “We have got to steadfastly refrain from writing. If we have to write, then it is better be worthier than silence”

“I got an ink pen as gift at the age of nine.  It was meant to write with.  I was trained to write: I am a shy person and writing was deliverance.  Writing is now a fatality” said Fifi Abou Dib

“I send letters; thus, I consider that I publish”

“I write to reduce the distance that separates me with the other”

“Words and ideas do not procure pleasure: it is the attention and expressed solicitude that grab the emotions of the reader”

“The frozen words, suspended in mid air, melted. Like cannon ball echoes, words reverberated in living booms” wrote Rabelais.

“I jot down words and erase many.  I save words that remind me of shadows, reflection, music and lighted images.  In humility, simplicity, and candor I receive the “Torma”, this loaf of bread placed in Tibet on roads for the hungry pilgrims.  Never mind that birds get first serving” wrote Mounir Abou Debs.

“Writing is breaking the silence. More importantly, publishing is to animate discussions, rectifying idiosyncrasies, and giving meaning to our belief that mankind is one species.”

“Writing is a mode of existing, of identification, and of resistance”

“I write because voices demand it”

“Writing is the best technique to training my mind: I write to recollect my mostly forgotten childhood; I write to glorify youth by pitying mine; I write to chastise grandly my adulthood; I write to rejuvenate my feelings in middle age; I write to live the rebirth child in me, eyes wide opened, as years advances.” Adonis49




June 2023

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