Monday, December 12, 2011

To books with happy endings xoxo

I picked up Ports of Call by Amin Maalouf at the Sharjah Bookfair two years ago. I had vaguely heard of the author, and had two of his books (that I had not yet read at the time) but couldn't resist this after reading its synopsis. Yesterday, I found myself reading it, and before I knew it, I was done with it this afternoon. It's one of those books that leaves a lasting impression, because of its premises, the way its written and the fully fleshed characters.

Amin Maalouf is a Lebanese writer who has written several fiction and non fiction books, and if I'm not mistaken all his books are written in French. Most are available in Arabic, and naturally, English. POC weaves the history of the end of the Ottoman Empire, the conflict in Lebanon and Palestine along with the WWI and II, all told from a descendant of the last Ottoman Emperor (fictitious), Osyyane.  Osyyane lives in Lebanon pre WWI and leaves to Montpelier, France to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor.   There, however, he finds himself joining the resistance and enters a very different world from the on he had set off for. Although it sounds like a very historical and political book, it hardly feels like it when you're reading. It reads like a love story, of star crossed lovers. It reads like the everyday struggles of an ordinary, but dysfunctional family. The struggles of a son wanting to go after his own dreams, and that of trying to fulfill his father's ambitions for him. It's so many different things. It's the history of an unravelling empire, of racism and prejudice; and of a distant of hope of bridging differences and finding the ever elusive peace.

A 5 star and heart book. Definitely recommended.


sadia said...

gotta admit, haven't heard of the author...but the book sounds good.

I got a book called Room from the Shj Intl Book Fair this year.

Have you read it?

p.s. we need to form a book club in sharjah! there are soo many in dubai. we need one here!

Bookworm said...

Ohh, Room! Yeah, I read it earlier this year. Its a page turner, excellent choice. I don't think I can say anymore without giving it away. Do let me know what you think of it! We can discuss it when you're done :)

I'm totally up to organizing a monthly book club meeting. I just followed you on twitter, lemme know if you're interested and maybe we can inaugurate it in Jan :D