Le Monde Diplomatique 's Book of the Year i"/>

Gate of the Sun

Elias Khoury, Author, Humphrey Davies, Translator , trans. from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies. Archipelago $26 (539p) ISBN 978-0-9763950-2-7

First published in 1998 in Arabic by a Beirut publisher, and then translated into Hebrew and French, this book was Le Monde Diplomatique 's Book of the Year in 2002; Khoury's ambitious, provocative, and insightful novel now arrives in the U.S. Well researched, deeply imagined, expressively written and overtly nostalgic, the book uses the lyrical flashback style of 1001 Arabian Nights to tell stories of Palestine. At a makeshift hospital in the Shatila refugee camp on the outskirts of Beirut, Dr. Khalil sits by the bed of his gravely ill, unconscious friend and patient, Yunes, a Palestinian fighter, and reminisces about their lives in an attempt to bring him back to consciousness. The collage of stories that emerges, ranging from the war of 1948 to the present, doesn't have a clear beginning or end, but narrows the dizzying scope of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to comprehensible names and faces, including sympathetically tough and pragmatic women. Davies has translated Naguib Mahfouz and does a nice job with the lyrical, outsized text. Khoury, born in 1948 in Beirut, has authored 11 other novels (The Little Mountain and The Kingdom of Strangers are available in translation) and published numerous essays; he now teaches at NYU each spring. A film version of the book was shown in New York in 2004. 9-city author tour. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/21/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
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FORMATS
Ebook - 475 pages - 978-0-9826246-8-5
Paperback - 531 pages - 978-0-312-42670-5
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