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The Dark Side of Love

by Rafik Schami

The sheer length was daunting, but this has rave reviews from people who want just that - to soak themselves in a really long read. A mosaic of many different voices and stories - the most enjoyable part for me was Farid's growing up in Damascus: the street scenes, family life, clubs and cafes. The dark side? Ancient feuds that become ever more poisonous when repression exploits them and informers who threaten prison and torture on a whim.

Extract

Gibran told a great many stories, but most of them were lies and often macabre too .... He was ready to tell a story in return for a cigarette, and if there were women in the story he would want an extra five piastres to buy a shot of arrack. If he was drunk he would tell stories for free, but he needed half a litre of high-proof arrack to get drunk in the first place.
Translated by Anthea Bell

Parallels

The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz
The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk
 

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