Tale of a certain orient

English, Novels

 

Tale of a certain orient is a story of a return: to Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon; to a large and unruly family of Lebanese emigrants; to the past. Emilie, the matriarch, is on her deathbed.

Returning to her childhood home to say goodbye, her granddaughter becomes enveloped in memories, as family and friends gather round to tell their own tales, one by one.

We hear of how Uncle Hanna first left lebanon for Brazil early in the twentieth century; of Soraya Ângela, the illegitimate deaf-mute child whose short life was blighted by fear and prejudice; of Uncle Emir and his solitary walk that ended at the bottom of a river; of Hakim’s wranglings with the Arabic language; of the two unnameable, fiery-tongued brothers; of the German photographer and constant friend Dorner, roaming Manaus with his Hasselblad; and at the centre of it all lies Emilie: loving, interfering, luminous.

Flowing like the Amazon through East and West, city and jungle, life and death, Tale of a Certain Orient has all the magnetism and lush beauty of its Brazilian setting.

Winner of the Jabuti Prize (the Brazilian equivalent of the Booker) this classic novel has already been published in seven countries. In this exquisite translation by Ellen Watson, this new edition is revised by John Gledson.

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