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Winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book for Europe and South Asia.
"A stunning, defiant debut."—Guardian
"Hiller brings to his works not only a craftsman's skill but also a compassion for his characters that proves infectious."—Haaretz
"A chilling rites-of-passage novel set in Beirut in 1982 during the killings in the camps."—The Economist
It is the summer of 1982 and Beirut is under siege. Eighteen-year-old Ivan's parents have just been evacuated from the city with other members of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Ivan stays on, interpreting for international medical volunteers in Sabra refugee camp and working undercover for the PLO. Hoping to get closer to Eli, a Norwegian physiotherapist, he helps her treat Youssef, a camp orphan disabled by a cluster bomb. An unexpected friendship develops between the three and things begin to look up.
But events take a nasty turn when the president-elect is assassinated. The Israeli army enters Beirut and surrounds the camp, with Eli and Youssef trapped inside. What happens next makes international headlines and leaves Ivan scrabbling to salvage something positive from the chaos.
Mischa Hiller, of English–Palestinian descent, was born in England in 1962 and grew up in London, Dar es Salaam, and Beirut. Mischa won the 2009 European Independent Film Festival script competition for his adaptation of Sabra Zoo. He lives with his family in Cambridge, England.
- Saqi, October 2011
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