Jabbour Douaihy – ‘The American Neighborhood’

From the International Prize for Arabic Fiction official biography and book description:

AmericanNeighborhoodJabbour Douaihy was born in Zgharta, northern Lebanon, in 1949. He holds a PhD degree in Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne and works as Professor of French Literature at the University of Lebanon. To date, he has published seven works of fiction, including novels, short stories and children’s books. His novel June Rain was shortlisted for the inaugural IPAF in 2008 and published in English by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing in July 2014. Another novel, The Vagrant, was shortlisted for the prize in 2012.

The American Neighbourhood is a novel about a troubled city during an explosive period of history. It describes two contradictory worlds existing side-by-side within a single Lebanese city, Tripoli. The first: the poor, sprawling so-called American district of Bab al-Tebbeneh, from which many jihadis are recruited and sent to Iraq to fight the Americans. The second: the rich and powerful Al Azzam family’s splendid home in an elite district.

Intisar, who comes from the American district, works for the Al Azzams and has a good relationship with her employers, suggesting that the two worlds can exist peacefully side-by-side. However, she becomes terrified when her son Ismail disappears and it transpires that he has been recruited for a suicide mission in Iraq. Although he abandons his mission at the last minute, Ismail finds himself trapped on return to the city and he finds himself turning to the Al Azzam family for protection.


 Beyond Resilience: Jabbour Douaihy’s ‘American Neighborhood’ (Review)