If it weren't for the fact that it is set in modern Beirut, the gently humourous love story of Lebanese Maya and English James could almost be a reprise of the film Notting Hill. As it is I thoroughly recommend Bliss Street as a not too painful introduction to the complexities of Middle Eastern life.
The street was sprinkled with shops selling lingerie and perfume and jewellery; there was one shop called Happiness, another called We Buy Gold. Signs in English, in French, in Arabic. Hollywood Boulevarde-style stars engraved with the word 'Hamra' were dotted along the uneven pavement. On the corner stood a building peppered with bullet holes, a giant sponge about to collapse at the feet of the million-dollar apartment complex next door.