As a tribute to Mai Ghoussoub, who died suddenly on 17 February 2007, Saqi reprinted her memoir, 'Leaving Beirut' in April 2007, which has been received with critical acclaim.
As an uneasy peace settles over war-torn Beirut, a woman reflects. Events, past or present, in Bosnia, Rwanda or Argentina remind her of the tragedies that shaped her life.
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Ghoussoub, Mai (1952-2007)
Saqi Books, Beirut, 2007 2nd Edition
14 x 21 cm
Memoir - Beirut
A twelve-year-old girl writes an essay that extols revenge to impress her teacher, and is surprised to receive criticism rather than praise. 'Revenge', Mrs Nomy insists, is 'the most cowardly' human behaviour. Years later, having fled Beirut, she reflects upon the devastating role revenge has played in her country. Might she have found it so easy to forgive if she had stayed? Or might she, too, have contemplated retribution? This is a compelling and humane book, which abounds in courage and compassion.
REVIEWS: «Leaving Beirut deserves to become a classic - at once a testimony of war, a memoir of exile and a critique of man's inhumanity, it tackles the very darkest of subjects with a compelling lightness of touch.» Jo Glanville, New Statesman
«A precious-crossing force...this is a journey through darkness and into light.» The Independent
«Ghoussoub was an infectious optimist and the hope that radiates from this memoir is a fitting tribute.» Metro
«Leaving Beirut is one of the most poignant testimonies to the Lebanese civil war.» Moris Farhi
«One of those rare books that leaves its readers able to breathe more deeply, with a renewed sense that life, for all its cruelties, is beautiful.» Maggie Gee
«A writer, artist and publisher who took her passion for life, controversy and feminism to the streets of Beirut and London.» Malu Halasa, The Guardian
«A tangled and creative mix of memoir, fiction, recollection, old-fashioned yarn-spinning, postmodern pastiche, literary criticism and methodically plotted political essay ... Required reading for anyone harbouring a love-hate fascination with the city.» The Daily Star
AUTHOR BIO: Mai Ghoussoub, artist, author and playwright, left Beirut for London in 1979, where she co-founded Saqi with Andre Gaspard. Her art has been exhibited internationally, and her play Texterminators was performed in London, Liverpool and Beirut in 2006. Her many publications include Imagined Masculinities, with Emma Sinclair-Webb and Artists and Vitrines, with Shaheen Merali. Her stories have appeared in Hikayat: Short Stories by Lebanese Women and Lebanon, Lebanon. She was a regular contributor to al-Hayat and OpenDemocracy.