In this new novel by Syria's most prominent writer of the National Book Award Finalist Planet of Clay, a wounded nineteen-year-old soldier in the Syrian Army remembers his life lived in the traditional Alawite way.
"The potent latest from Yazbek (Planet of Clay) weighs the consequences of the Syrian civil war after a 19-year-old soldier, Ali, survives his patrol station's 2013 bombing in the Lattakia mountains.This slim novel packs a punch." --Publishers Weekly
Ali, a nineteen-year-old soldier in the Syrian army, lies on the ground beneath a tree. He sees a body being lowered into a hole--is this his funeral? There was that sudden explosion, wasn't there ... While trying to understand the extend of the damage, Ali works his way closer to the tree. His ultimate desire is to fly up to one of its branches, to safety. Through rich vignettes of Ali's memories, we uncover the hardships of his traditional Syrian Alawite village, but also the richness and beauty of its cultural and religious heritage. Yazbek here explores the secrets of the Alawite faith and its relationship to nature and the elements in a tight poetic novel dense with life and hope and love.
About the Author
SAMAR YAZBEK is a Syrian writer, novelist, and journalist. She was born in Jableh in 1970 and studied literature before beginning her career as a journalist and a scriptwriter for Syrian television and film. Her novel Planet of Clay, also published by World Editions, was a finalist for the National Book Award and longlisted for the Warwick Women in Translation Prize. Her accounts of the Syrian conflict include A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution and The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria. Yazbek's work has been translated into multiple languages and has been recognized with numerous awards--notably, the French Best Foreign Book Award and the PEN-Oxfam Novib, PEN Tucholsky, and PEN Pinter awards. She was recently selected to be part of the International Writers Program with the Royal Society of Literature. LERI PRICE is an award-winning literary translator of contemporary Arabic fiction. Price's translation of Khaled Khalifa's Death Is Hard Work was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature and winner of the 2020 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation. Her translation of Khaled Khalifa's No Knives in the Kitchens of This City was shortlisted for the ALTA National Translation Award. Price's other recent translations include Sarab by award-winning writer Raja Alem.