If you are like me, and have never closely encountered Lebanese literature, you are likely to find this book a revelation. From the first pages, the story rises to an emotional height that is sustained throughout the story. That the protagonist addresses himself to the long-dead Japanese novelist only underscores the confusion of his life, as well as a certain detachment from reality.
The reader gets an amazing opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a young Arab man. We walk with the boy through the life in a backwards village that is full of medieval feuds, and is soaked in ancient traditions. We follow the teenager as his quest to fight injustice brings him right into a dangerous and highly politicized war. Finally, we see a tired man looking back at his old self, and trying to make sense out of his own life.
Even though I couldn't disagree more with the protagonist's political goals, I could not help but sympathize with him. It is rare to find a book that can show readers that underneath many actions lie simply the emotions of frustrated young people.