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Bab al-Shams
Elias Khoury
publisher: Dar al-Adab, Beirut, 1998

translated as:
Gate of the Sun
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2006
translation: Humphrey Davies

refered to by:
This Blinding Absence of Light
Tahar Ben Jelloun

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Gate of the Sun: Bab al-Shams is the first magnum opus of the Palestinian saga. Through the passing of the beloved midwife of the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, the reader enters a world of displacement, fear, and tenuous hope. A realigned 1001 Nights, a makeshift doctor tells stories to his comatose friend in an attempt to keep him alive. His patient, Yunes, is also from Galilee, where he left Nahila, the love of his life. The novel unfolds at his bedside through the storyteller's intimate and haunting flights of memory. Khoury humanizes the complex Palestinian and Israeli struggle for us, shedding light on the turbulent history with love and empathy. Khoury opens up a whole new territory, a place where us'' and 'them' are inextricably entwined; he takes us on a vast odyssey of horror and love. Originally published in Beirut in 1998, the novel has been a sensation throughout the Arab world, in Israel, and throughout Europe. Winner of the Prize of Palestine in 1998 and Le Monde Diplomatique's Book of the Year in 2002.


Gate of the Sun
The narrator of this novel tells stories to his dying friend, in the hope of keeping him alive.
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