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Too much torture, too much repetition.

Yalo - Elias Khoury, Peter Theroux

I cannot believe I am still reading this book! (Nearly a month later). It churns and churns, repeating itself endlessly, maybe adding a little more detail with each telling. And the torture, I hate reading about torture; maybe I have my head in the sand but it distresses me that people can be so cruel to each other. Mind you, the main character isn't much better, he may be a product of the Lebanese Civil War, but he's a nasty piece of work too - a rapist who doesn't even realise that what he's doing is rape.


What I'm finding truly fascinating is that, by chance, I have two different translations and I keep swapping between the two. Humphrey Davis's version is very much more poetic, it has more of an Arabic feel to it, while Peter Theroux seems to write for a more Western audience, less flowery but sometimes too direct. I'd struggle to say which version I prefer and I'm definitely spending too much time comparing them.


Just under 100 pages to go and I guess I'm going to struggle through to the end now. The book group has been and gone, so I'm just doing this for myself(?!). I need to know how Yalo will end up, though I can't say I really care if he meets a grisly end.......


16th December (6 weeks) and I finally finished. It didn't get any better, although someone from the book group promised me it would. If Elias Khoury's intention was to highlight the fate of the lost children of a generation, then I'm sure he would have benefited from taking the chance to spend more time with his characters actually on the streets. It seems to me that this endless repetition of Yalo's story just wastes the opportunity of having someone concentrate on your book. I'm assured that Khoury's book 'Gate of the Sun' is a wonderful read, but I think it'll be a while before I come back for more of this.

2 stars just because I finished.