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Beirut, I Love You

A Memoir

Zena el Khalil

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Zena el Khalil, a young Beirut-based female artist, writer, and activist who had an unconventional but worldly upbringing growing up in Lagos, Nigeria and attending art school in New York, returns after 9/11 to her familial home of Beirut and its mountains, beaches, food, music and drugs. Beirut, I Love You, spanning from 1994 to the present day, brings Beirut to life in all its glory and contradictions and is filled with personal anecdotes of Zena's life there: a place where, in spite of the pervasive desire for hope and the resilience of its people, still bears deep scars from the Lebanese Civil War and the Israeli invasion of 2006—a place where plastic surgery and AK 47s live side by side and nightclubs are situated on rooftops in order to avoid car bombs. Yet Zena and her friends, in particular her fellow rebel Maya, refuse to accept the extreme poles of Beirut, the militias and gender restrictions on one side, hedonism and materialism on the other. And although Zena experiences tragedy and loss, her story is a testament to the power of love and friendship, and the beauty of her city and its inhabitants.
 
Written with an honest, profound simplicity, Zena is intoxicated by the country’s contradictions—“Lebanon was, and always will be, schizophrenic”—and attempts to come to terms with her role among her friends, family, and city.

Publishers Weekly Review

Oct 22, 2012 – Part love letter and part memoir, el Khalil's work employs her artist's eye and ear to depict Beirut during and after the Israeli attacks on the country's south and the Lebanese civil war. No simple chronological narration, this is rather a highly personal, impressionistic depiction of events and emotions: "There is a thin line between reality and dream," she writes. But she also has a sharp eye for the cruel absurdity of life in Lebanon ("We were well known for our hospitality. Prostitutes, militiamen, corrupt politicians, puritanical evangelists, poets, artists, nihilists, dreamers, writers, jihadists, businessmen—all were welcome"). But this hospitality and cosmopolitanism are gone, and the Lebanese are now trying, but unable, to forget the devastation of war and the failures of the government to provide basic necessities, which awakened people's faith in militias. El Khalil bitterly recounts the devastation wrought in the 1970s by Israel's attacks on the PLO in southern Lebanon, and the occupation, when an Israeli prison and bunkers were built over her grandfather's home. The author's varying tones of passion and detachment heighten the emotional effect. Like Baghdad, which has somehow always survived, el-Khalil defies defeat. Her unflinching inside view of Beirut's tragedy and of "Amreekan" duplicity underscore why her 2006 blog beirutupdate.blogspot.com received international attention. .
Beirut, I Love You
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Oct 16, 2012
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 218 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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