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Post-War Anglophone Lebanese Fiction

Home Matters in the Diaspora

Syrine Hout

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This book examines the phenomenon of the post-civil war Anglophone Lebanese fictional narrative. The texts chosen for study have been produced in, and are substantially about, life in exile. They therefore deal not only with the brutal civil strife in Lebanon (1975–1990) but with one of its crucial and long-standing by-products: expatriation. Syrine Hout shows how these texts characterise a distinctly new literary and cultural trend and have founded an Anglophone Lebanese diasporic literature.

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Introduction: Post-War Anglophone Lebanese Fiction: Roots and Routes
Part I: Homesickness and Sickness of Home
Chapter 1: Koolaids and Unreal City
Chapter 2: The Perv and Somewhere, Home
Part II: Trauma Narratives: The Scars of War
Chapter 3: I, the Divine and The Bullet Collection
Part III: Playing with Fire at Home and Abroad
Chapter 4: The Hakawati and A Girl Made of Dust
Chapter 5: De Niro’s Game
Part IV: Exile versus Repatriation
Chapter 6: Cockroach and A Good Land

About the Author

Syrine Hout is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the American University of Beirut. She is author of Viewing Europe from the Outside: Cultural Encounters and Critiques in the 18th-Century Pseudo-Oriental Travelogue and the 19th-Century 'Voyage en Orient.' (Peter Lang, 1997).


It is destined for the syllabi of university literature courses from here to Sydney, London, Los Angeles and Montreal. Cheer for those students ... They have a solid piece of scholarly research to support and sustain their reading.
Hout admirably lays out the landscape of several disciplinary fields and academic eras, which is again a gift to future students. She is at her best, however, on the explosive style and content of the novels (and short story collections) themselves.
- The Daily Star, Lebanon

With this clearly argued and critically nuanced study Syrine Hout presents her readers with a thought-provoking analysis of contributions to an emerging literary phenomenon, fictions by writers of Lebanese origin penned in English. This is an important addition to the ever growing library of critical studies devoted to fiction of English expression written by that most oxymoronic of categories, the insider outside.

- Roger Allen, Professor Emeritus of Arabic and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania
'For both the generalist and the specialist reader, Hout’s text offers a fine overview of the central themes in Lebanese diaspora writing. At its core, it provides a powerful argument for why we need to be reading these rich if often dark novels.'
- Mara Naaman, Williams College, Postcolonial Text
'In Postwar Anglophone Lebanese Fiction, Hout delivers a pioneering work of scholarship of what she presciently foresees becoming “a fuller-fledged variant of diasporic Lebanese literature” (p. 11). During a period where transnational Arab literature is still more commonly grouped under the country of relocation (for example, Arab American/Arab Canadian), Hout importantly offers new possibilities for analytical distinction. Her qualification of how these authors’ works resist official, amnesiac Lebanese policy regarding remembering and commemoration of the civil war also reveals an important political purpose for the literature under analysis... An interdisciplinary study that offers a fresh analysis of the works of several individually celebrated authors, Postwar Anglophone Lebanese Fiction reveals new pathways of interpretation, and for scholarship more broadly.'
- Omar Zahzah, H-Levant

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