Anti Lebanon

Carl Shuker. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-61902-115-0
In the midst of the Arab Spring, Beirut is experiencing a chaotic flux of soldiers, martyrs, and security guards. New Zealand-born novelist Shuker (The Lazy Boys) places at its center Leon, a brooding Christian Lebanese filmmaker, and commences with a rather standard thriller plot. Complicit in the theft of artisanal jewelry meant for a wealthy buyer in Iran, Leon finds himself wanted by the varying factions vying for power in Beirut. The situation takes a strange turn, however, when Leon is bitten by the jewels' Armenian maker and possibly transformed into a modern vampire, a primal being who, as his father explains, cannot be trusted. Hovering in the fringes of the war-torn city, Leon then traverses a nightmarish landscape of demons as Shuker crafts a dark noir that is equal parts allegorical and hallucinogenic. Though the intricacies of the plot require a working understanding of Middle Eastern politics and the power dynamics at play during Arab Spring, one cannot help but be captivated by the slow, mournful mood and atmosphere of Shuker's Beirut. Combining a thriller and a horror story into a single melancholic narrative, Shuker has created a haunting and riveting account of war, loss, and exile. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/2013
Release date: 02/01/2013
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-61902-199-0
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