This is a first novel by a respected Jordanian poet and as you would expect it is beautifully and dramatically written. A political exile from an unnamed Middle Eastern country returns home when the political regime of his native country changes. As he tries to reconnect with what is left of his family and friends he recounts the events which led to his banishment. A difficult book from a number of aspects but well worth the effort.
It came to pass that a plague reminiscent of an ancient pestilence, swept the City of Red and Grey. You recall the panic that gripped that great conurbation, built of red brick under grey skies. The anarchy. The break down in law and order. The great convulsion that affected everything. Because the plague had come almost without warning. Some people attributed it to the large number of immigrants, especially from impoverished countries, and to the crowded slums or asylum camps. Others said the plague was latent in the fabric of the city itself and needed only a catalyst for it to spread.