Yalo by Elias Khoury

IMG_6303Set in Beirut, Lebanon. Reread on 2019/01: https://www.instagram.com/p/BshG7K9H3_i/

When a lot of other writers are interested in details and events, #eliaskhoury seems more interested in emotions and reactions. As I said before the worst part of this month’s #rereadmarathonhas been to obsess with details which should have led me to anticipate the ending I already know is going to happen. To my #rereadproblem, #yalo says dude, relax! Let the story with all its ambiguity and contradictions explode in front of you and transport you somewhere else. The problem is that that #somewhereelse here is visceral, raw and crude. There are no divisions, no categories, no plots. Yalo is an orgy of feelings and an exuberant ride to the darkest corners of our #id of our most unrestrained and nihilist impulses. I had to stop myself and take a few breaks from going down the rabbit hole. #khoury seems to enjoy completely ignoring the reader and anyone’s interpretation of the story. Instead his master storytelling skills are there to shed some light into the core of all our emotions. Not an easy and pretty view, but one that intrinsically and ultimately defines us. #highlyrecomended #lebaneseliterature#beirut #archipelagobooks #ballouna #خوري#بيروت #beyrouth #kesrouan #trauma#political #torture #nohope

Reviewed on 2017/08: https://www.instagram.com/p/BX4Ma4YhqoL/

#khoury is a very prominent and outspoken public figure in #lebanon So clearly I had very high expectations for this book. #yalocompletely surpasses every single expectation but not so much for the obvious reasons. Lebanon’s #civilwar is certainly a major character here. But the two major twists are that the action happens after the civil war has ended and the deeply individualistic and psychological aspects of the book. To some extent it’s fair to say that Khoury’s microscopic attention and #streamofconsciousness techniques make you believe that the main character is really the entire country. The hate, the pain and the violence of the past never really disappeared or healed. They are still there, present and vivid. Instead of rifles and missiles, now their internal wars have taken over and the trauma is ticking constantly like a bomb waiting to explode. How can a writer makes you go through all those emotions and force you to delve deep into the epicenter of it all? Personally I think that’s what distinguishes THE literature from literature. And with Yalo, Khoury wrote THE literature. #highlyrecommend#lebaneseliterature #beirut#archipelagobooks #eliaskhoury #ballouna#خوري #بيروت #beyrouth #kesrouan#trauma #political #torture #corruption#nohope

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