A graceful story of love across an insuperable gulf and a powerful allegory for the conflict that has beset the Middle East for the last half century. To call your son Ossyane is like calling him Rebellion. For Ossyane's father it is a gesture of protest by an excited Ottoman prince, for Ossyane himself it is a burdensome responsibility. At eighteen he leaves Beirut to study in Montpellier, far away from his father's revolutionary aspirations for him. But it is 1938, and when war breaks out in Europe, Ossyane is drawn into the Resistance. His return to Beirut is a rebel hero's welcome after all, and a joyful reunion with Clara, whom he first met in France. But if one war has brought the Jewish-Muslim couple together, another, much closer to home, is destined to separate Ossyane from the people and the world that he loves.
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(198mm x 129mm x 13mm)
The Harvill Press
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
A young Lebanese man in Paris recognizes an old man on the Metro as a face from his school history book; someone who had left the Lebanon during World War II to fight with the Resistance in France. The elderly Ossayne responds to the young man's friendly approach, and soon is telling his life story. This begins long before his birth, in the house of a deposed sovereign whose suicide causes his daughter to lose her wits. The daughter is Ossayne's grandmother, and he describes his father's privileged upbringing in an Ottoman household in Adana, which ends in 1909, when, in a gesture of rebellion, the young Turkish aristocrat flees with his Armenian tutor to Mont Lebanon. He marries his tutor's daughter, and they call their son Ossayne, a name which represents his father's protest against a history of sectarianism and violence. During the Resistance Ossayne marries a beautiful Jewish woman and moves to Haifa, but there is a cruel fate in store for this happy young couple. Malouf's first novel to have a contemporary setting dramatizes the conflict and anarchy that have beset his native Lebanon in the past century through the story of one man's life. It is also a beautiful work of fiction that tells a poignant love story. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Amin Maalouf
Amin Maalouf's fiction includes Leo the African, Rock of Tanios, which won the 1993 Prix Goncourt, Samarkand and Ports of Call. He is also the author of an acclaimed scholarly work, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, as well as the much admired essay, 'On Identity'. Alberto Mangguel was born in Buenos Aires and has lived in Canada and in Europe. He has an international reputation as an anthropologist, essayist, novelist and editor and has translated the works of Julio Cortazar and Marguerite Yourcenar. He is the author of A History of reading and Reading Pictures.