Top critical review
Enjoyable fictional folk tale of Lebanon
on 6 February 2014
This was an entertaining read, especially for those interested in Lebanon and folk legends. Although the story and titular character are fictional, the historical context is based upon real events (the shifting powers of the middle-eastern rulers and European empires). The tumultuous state of Asia and the Arabian Peninsula are the stage upon which a more personal story is told, of Tanios and his village. There are many unusual and intriguing characters, with traditions just as eccentric.
As I am pretty ignorant about the history of the areas mentioned, I was at times a little lost when reading the book, specifically during the latter portion when all the talk of the Emir and the empires began. I also felt that some of the characterisation may have been lost in translation, or perhaps could have benefited from more adventurous imagery and dialogue.
On the whole, though, it's a good read. Not amongst the greatest Lebanese / French literature, but not one to be dismissed either. It gives you a taste of the Lebanon of old, and I find myself hungry for more.