The Road From Damascus

by Robin Yassin-Kassab

While I struggled to care about failed academic Sami and his crisis of belief, this ambitious debut is crammed with ideas on culture, identity, race and faith. Although rather overly descriptive in parts for my taste, it does give an interesting insight into the lives of Arab Muslims living in London.


Spat out on to the final, most familiar platform of his journey home, Sami paused by a no-smoking sign to light a cigarette. Not much further to dash, not much more time until his life-redeeming trip would have to be described and accounted for. The gains and the losses. The new academic idea. His dribbling Uncle Faris, if he would tell her about that. He stood and smoked where modernity receded and dusk encroached, in the eye of a transport police camera, under an archaic station clock. Roofed-in and tower-shadowed but open to the air at last, to the smell of London.


Only in London by Hanan Al-Shaykh

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