Beirut, I Love You
A PASSIONATE AND TENDER MEMOIR about living in a beautiful city fueled by contrasts and contradictions.
Beirut, I Love You is the story of Zena, a young woman who has fallen under the spell of a city that threatens to engulf her in war, grief and love affairs. In the streets armed militias carve out their territories, while ragged construction workers rebuild the city. Refugees sleep five to a bed as bleach-blonds wend their way to the next drug-fuelled supernightclub. At any moment, the bombs will start falling. Meanwhile, Zena and her best friend Maya must try to make sense of their lives amidst the craziness, and negotiate the city’s many obsessions including cosmetic surgery, husband hunting and Kalashnikovs.
As honest as it is forgiving, this artist’s memoir pits love and art against the ever-present threat of war.
UK: Saqi Books; US: NYRB Lit; Brazil: Martins Fontes Editora; Italy: Donzelli Editore; Spain: Siruela Editorial; Sweden: Ordfront Forlag; Film Option: Vivo Films
'El Khalil brings the city and its current events to life through personal anecdotes about loss, tragedy, friendship, life as a young woman in a polarized city, and love for this conflicted, beautiful place she calls home.' Gwyneth Paltrow, Goop
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.... 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.' Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
'Her book is like sitting down and having a conversation with her. You will feel close and connected, and it will feel relevant to you. Sensual and visceral, you will smell, hear, and taste Beirut, and you will not be disappointed.' Time Out Beirut