Yalo (Hardcover)

By Elias Khoury, Peter Theroux (Translator)

Archipelago Books, 9780979333040, 317pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2008



"A heartbreaking book and sometimes hypnotic in beauty. . . . With both gentle and cruel images, Khoury wrote a lamentation for the generation that was corrupted and lost its children, and for the children themselves."--"Haaretz"

Elias Khoury's most recent novel propels us into a fantastic universe of skewed reality that leaves us breathless to the last page. We follow the path of a young man, Yalo, who is growing up like a stray dog on the streets of Beirut during the long years of the Lebanese civil war. Living with his mother, who "lost her face in the mirror," he falls in with a dangerous gang whose violent escapades he treats as a game. The game becomes a frightening reality, however, when Yalo is accused of rape and imprisoned. He is forced to confess to crimes of which he has no recollection. As he writes, and rewrites, he begins to grasp his family's past and recall all that his psyche has buried, and the true Yalo begins to emerge.

Elias Khoury is the author of twelve novels, four volumes of literary criticism, and three plays. Editor of the cultural pages of Beirut's "An-Nahar," Khoury also is a global distinguished professor at New York University. "Gate of the Sun" was a "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year in 2006.

Peter Theroux translated Abdelrahman Munif's "Cities of Salt," Naguib Mahfouz's "Children of the Alley," and Alia Mamdouh's "Naphtalene: A Novel of Baghdad." He has lived and traveled throughout the Middle East and is currently based in Washington, DC.

About the Author

Elias Khoury is the editor of the literary supplement of al-Nahar newspaper in Beirut. He has taught at the American University of Beirut, Columbia University, and NYU. Picador will bring out GATE of the SUN in paperback this spring and Little Mountain, Gates of the City, and The Journey of Little Ghandi. Peter Theroux translated Abdelrahman Munif's "Cities of Salt" and Naguib Mahfouz's "Children of the Alley." He is the author of "Syria Behind the Mask" and "Translating L.A.: Tour of the Rainbow City" and the translator of 9 novels. He has lived and traveled throughout the Middle East, and currently lives in Washington, D.C.

Praise For Yalo

Elias Khoury’s Yalo is a novel that transcends—as only art can—the deep divisiveness of ideology, both political and religious. Yalo speaks to our universal humanity, to our profound longing for a realization of self and a connection to others. That such a vision should, at this moment in history, come to the American reading public from a great Arab novelist makes this an extraordinarily important publishing event. —Robert Olen Butler

Khoury refuses to give the reader an easy position from which to judge Yalo – either as a poor soul or a serial rapist, criminal or victim of torture – or from which to judge Lebanon’s tragic and violent fate. His novel is a dense and stunning work of art. —Publishers Weekly

How to write Beirut? . . . with words and images that stumble with weariness, that collapse from the heat, from the stone which composes them only to crumble in turn?...This is why Khoury’s fiction is so powerful. The intent of the writing is to restore its soul. —Tahar Ben Jelloun

Praise for Elias Khoury’s Gate of the Sun

A remarkable novel. —Harper’s Magazine

There has been powerful fiction about Palestinians . . . but few have held to the light the myths, tales and rumors of both Israel and the Arabs with such discerning compassion. In Humphrey Davies’ sparely poetic translation, Gate of the Sun is an imposingly rich and realistic novel, a genuine masterwork. —The New York Times Book Review