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Gate of the Sun Hardcover – 3 Nov 2005

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker; 1st Edition edition (3 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843431033
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843431039
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 547,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Brilliant ... Elias Khoury, along with Mahmoud Darwish, is an artist giving voice to rooted exiles and trapped refugees, to dissolving boundaries and changing identities, to radical demands and new languages" (Edward Said)

"He creates his very own, and very believable, newly coined mythologies...[the] result is a work of remarkable suspense... poetic and mysterious" (Nicholas Blincoe Daily Telegraph)

"Gate of the Sun is an imposingly rich and realistic novel, a genuine masterwork" (New York Times Book Review)

"The word 'brilliant' is etched across Khoury's new novel... It's a novel that will outlive us" (Independent)

"In Gate of the Sun, a character dreams of writing a 'book without a beginning or end... an epic of the Palestinian people'... Khoury's monumental novel is in a sense that groundbreaking book" (Guardian) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

From many true-life tales collected throughout Lebanon and its refugee camps over the course of seven years, Elias Khoury has created a monumental and spellbinding saga, putting human faces to a political tragedy at the forefront of the news even today. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A powerful insight into the middle east, which is also a rich work of literature. By being both epic and personal, you are drawn into a terrible tragedy for a people and for people. A great hero lies in a coma and his story is told by his nurse, who is dedicated but has his own story to tell. It's a mixture of myth and ordinariness and is never simple.
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Format: Paperback
If you want to know something of the Palestinian story of the last 60 years then you could do a lot worse than read this. Khoury's 500 page epic takes the form of a monologue, as the scarcely trained Dr Khaleel Ayoub tries to talk comatose freedom fighter Yunis back to life.

The novel bulges with countless tales of flight, exile, persecution, descrimination and war but always allied to a deep love of the Palestinian land. What is perhaps surprising is that the novel is completely devoid of fundamentalism - Yunis is shown to have been as tolerant of atheists, spiritualists and Christians as he is of muslims. Time and time again, the Palestinians' devotion is shown to be to their historic land, their olive trees, "Christ's fish" from the sea at Galilee etc. Khoury's book revels in the themes of home v displacement, with refugees victims by dint of their status to a range of other horrors from hopelessness and poverty, to violence. This is a thought-provoking novel with much to add to the study of today's polarised Middle East.

My reservation is that this is a very dense tome. This is a 500 page monologue with precious few paragraph breaks, with overlapping, repeating stories told out of sequence and frequent asides into the imaginary with laments about the frailties of memory clouding accuracy. Thus, it is a challenging read and one that won't suit you if you like to dip into books or just read a few pages a day.
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Format: Hardcover
The author smartly entwines all the true life stories he has come across in his lifetime into characters in his book. One of the main things I love is the way the author starts at the end of the story, and takes you back to the beginning, providing snippets of peoples distressed lives and then taking you back to how they have become that way.

For a true insight into the aftermath of the establishment of Israel and the lives of the dispersed Palestinians across the Arab nations (in particular Lebanon) then this is the book to read. The reference to Palestinians becoming the "Video Nation" is well put, attributing a nation living their daily lives based on the memory of what was once their heritage...

The book received a great review in the Guardian back in October 2005 which inspired me to buy it. Can't believe I'm the first to review it on Amazon though!

Note: Warning for the average modest reader! This book has a great deal of sexual content - far too graphical in some scenes. Hence the three stars.
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