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[12 Feb 2019 | No Comment | 17 views]
Wall Street Journal reviews Khalifa’s “Death is hard work”: “Brilliant” and “Unforgettable”

A review by Sam Sacks, for the Wall Street Journal, Februay
Khaled Khalifa’s “Death Is Hard Work” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 180 pages, $25) begins with an old man’s dying wish: that his children bury him in the family plot in the town of his birth, a few hundred kilometers from the capital. It might be a reasonable request in normal times, but this is contemporary Syria, where to walk to the market is to risk being killed. “Better to tend to the dead,” the man’s son Bolbol decides in resignation; “after all, …

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[10 Feb 2019 | No Comment | 21 views]
Los Angeles Times reviews Khaled Khalifa’s “astonishing new novel”, Death is hard work

A review by David Ulin for the Los Angeles Times, February 8th, 2019
“If you really want to erase or distort a story,” Khaled Khalifa declares in his astonishing new novel “Death Is Hard Work,” “you should turn it into several different stories with different endings and plenty of incidental details.” He’s referring to the salutary comforts of narrative. This — or so we like to reassure ourselves — is one reason we turn to literature: as a balm, an expression of the bonds that bring us together, rather than the …

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[11 Nov 2018 | No Comment | 29 views]
Kirkus reviews Khalifa’s “Death is hard work”: “Insistent, memorable portrait of the small indignities and large horrors of the civil war in Syria”

Starred review by Kirkus, November 2018

Insistent, memorable portrait of the small indignities and large horrors of the civil war in Syria. A native of the Aleppo district, Khalifa—well-known in the Arabic-reading world but new to most American readers and a winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature—here writes of a family both joined and torn apart by death. The paterfamilias knows that his passing is imminent: The first sentence reads, “Two hours before he died, Abdel Latif al-Salim looked his son Bolbol straight in the eye with as much of …

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[25 Oct 2018 | No Comment | 55 views]
Samar Yazbek is in the third and final selection of the French Femina award 2018

On Wednesday October 24th, the exclusively feminine jury of the French Femina award announced the 7 French titles and 5 foreign titles of their third and final selection. The winner will be announced on November 5th.
Samar Yazbek’s novel “La marcheuse” (The blue pen) tackles Syria’s chemical warfare, and more generally, the massive destruction of war, through the eyes of a woman-child.

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[27 Sep 2018 | No Comment | 31 views]
L’Express reviews Yazbek’s Blue pen “words can build a better world and repel ugliness”

Published by L’Express. September 26 2018.
She understands French, but prefers to speak in Arabic. For fear of losing her tongue: “It would be a double exile”, explains Samar Yazbek with a serious smile, refugee in France since the summer of 2011. For having participated in the revolt against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, this secular intellectual and democratic has become a prey for extremists of all stripes. “And I would feel even more guilty,” she continues.

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[27 Sep 2018 | No Comment | 72 views]
Le Monde reviews The Blue Pen and the “grace” of Samar Yazbek

Published by Le Monde, September 27, 2018. By Eglal Errera.
Also featured in Le Monde des Livres.
Among all the works that come to us from Syria or from the diaspora, this novel has a unique timbre that mixes absolute realism and wonder.

Venturing into what is most intimate, Yazbek returns to the novel, her original vocation (Cinnamon, Buchet-Chastel, 2013). Amongst all the works that come to us from Syria or from the diaspora, this novel has a unique timbre that mixes absolute realism to wonder. Rima, the narrator of La Marcheuse (The blue pen), is silent. She hears the sound of her …