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No Knives in the Kitchens of This City: A Novel (Hoopoe Fiction) Paperback – 28 Sep 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press; Tra edition (28 Sept. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9774167813
  • ISBN-13: 978-9774167812
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 1.8 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review


'[Khalifa is] one of the rising stars of Arab fiction . . . a rare public voice.'--New York Times


'Critically acclaimed . . . [No Knives in the Kitchens of this City] traces the degrading and destructive impact of Syria's dictatorship on the lives of a family from Aleppo.'--Financial Times


'Intricately plotted, chronologically complicated and a pleasure to read. . . . The writing is superb--a dense, luxurious realism pricked with surprising metaphors. It is lyrical, sensuous and so semantically rich that at times it resembles a prose poem . . . . A sad but beautiful book, providing important human context to the escalating Syrian tragedy.'--The Guardian


'Khalifa writes a raw, exquisite account of the Assad regime's loosening grip on [Syria] and the accompanying chaos.'--Washington Independent Review of Books


'Required reading for anyone who wants to better understand the roots of the uprising and current conflict in Syria.'--Literary Hub


'A searing indictment of the Syrian regime.' --The National





'Khaled Khalifa writes about his native city with sensuality and an almost feral intensity . . . . No Knives in the Kitchens of This City offers a glimpse into how terrified and empty of hope the people of a city must be to rise up in revolt. The future offers them nothing. It is a castle of closed doors. . . . The sights, smells and horror of living in Aleppo come pounding to life in this book. The place, to me, is no longer an abstraction, and Mr. Khalifa clearly fears for its fate throughout.'--New York Times


'One of the rising stars of Arab fiction . . . a rare public voice.'--New York Times


'Critically acclaimed . . . [No Knives in the Kitchens of this City] traces the degrading and destructive impact of Syria's dictatorship on the lives of a family from Aleppo.'--Financial Times


'Intricately plotted, chronologically complicated and a pleasure to read. . . . The writing is superb--a dense, luxurious realism pricked with surprising metaphors. It is lyrical, sensuous and so semantically rich that at times it resembles a prose poem . . . . A sad but beautiful book, providing important human context to the escalating Syrian tragedy.'--The Guardian


'Khalifa writes a raw, exquisite account of the Assad regime's loosening grip on [Syria] and the accompanying chaos.'--Washington Independent Review of Books


'Required reading for anyone who wants to better understand the roots of the uprising and current conflict in Syria.'--Literary Hub


'A searing indictment of the Syrian regime.' --The National

About the Author

Khaled Khalifa was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1964. A founding editor of the literary magazine Alif, he is the author of four novels, including In Praise of Hatred. He has also written numerous scripts for TV dramas and films, several of which have won awards, and screenplays for several feature films. No Knives in the Kitchens of This City was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 2013 and was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2014. Leri Price is the translator of Khaled Khalifa's In Praise of Hatred.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
“What if we had lived in another time?” asks the narrator at the conclusion of "No Knives". The question arises during a moment of reflection on the necessity of parallel lives in modern day Syria: a world where the motives of others cannot be trusted, and the trajectory of one’s own life could, in a few moments, take a fatally wrong turn.

Khaled Khalifa’s detailed observations of tumultuous lives in Syria are funny, richly evoked and tragic. Through deftly crafted phrases, Khalifa recounts the fractured personal histories of a family living in a country, and at a time, when the survival hinges on knowing the right people and on biographical invention to escape the life-sapping clutch of a totalitarian regime.

At the heart of the novel is the vivacious, irrepressible Sawsan, a young woman who is out of time and place in a country crushed by state dictatorship on the one side, and emerging religious zealotry on the other. Along with Uncle Jean and brother Rashid, her story forms the mainstay of the novel. All around, multiple lives are discarded and disposed of, with a frequency that aspires to the death count in Slaughterhouse 5. Within the first five pages, a brutalized, fingerless body is discarded. The incident is returned to later in the novel when we learn that the individual, teenage boy, had been tortured and killed by a regime that offers its victims the slow death of the informant as the only alternative to instant termination.

In a few lines, Khalifa captures the banality of the situation with great pathos: “We sat in the secret funeral reception, where a muffled tape recorder played verses from the Quran and a few mourners conversed about the price of vegetables.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so if that's not something you enjoy you might want to opt for a different read ... 26 Dec. 2016
By ashmw - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an incredible read - it shifts perspectives quite quickly, so if that's not something you enjoy you might want to opt for a different read or keep a character list handy.

Will consider using this in the future for my students to understand the relationship between the self and society.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A revelation 23 Mar. 2017
By Sylvia Sterne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a revelation. In a poetic, literary way, it traced the suffering of a family in Aleppo under the Assad regime, covering a wide range of personalities and types. It held my interest from beginning to end.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 17 April 2017
By MICHELE L - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
LOVED this book!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look into Syria's beautiful past and what became of it... 19 Oct. 2016
By ikwo n - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book to understand a bit more about present-day Syria. I got that and so much more. The author presented his reader with a family tree of characters connected through blood and hardship and dreams. The language was rich, sensual, and never once did it falter. I'd recommend you read this book if the Middle East seems like one big warring state to you. If you know nothing of Syria. If you want to become involved with characters much like yourself making mistakes and trying to correct them. If you want to leave a book having felt a connection with the story and characters by the last page. This was my favorite read of the year and I would put it in every hand that wants a story that isn't like what we usually find in new fiction.
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