Nominated by:

Los Angeles Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Seagull Books, India

Kamal Jann

Dominique Eddé      

Translated from the French by Ros Schwartz

2016 Longlist

Dominique Eddé’s gripping novel tells the story of the doomed Jann family as they plot against one another for revenge and power. Kamal Jann, a successful lawyer in New York City, has a troubled past unseen to most. When he was a boy in Syria, his uncle, the head of the Syrian CIA, had his parents killed, leaving Kamal orphaned at the age of twelve. In a twisted attempt for forgiveness, and as insurance against retaliation, Kamal’s uncle paid for his education. Now living in Manhattan, Kamal receives news that his uncle is planning a terrorist attack on Paris and has recruited Kamal’s jihadist brother to carry it out.  To save his brother, and ultimately avenge his parent’s murder, Kamal enters into a dangerous pact with his uncle. Calm, reserved, and even charming on the surface, Kamal hides a vein of madness that will stop at nothing to bring down his uncle and the Syrian regime.

Alliances, damaged lives, impossible loves, and deep betrayals unfold as the family relationships erode, echoing the conflicts that tear apart the countries around them in the Middle East.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Born in Lebanon, Dominique Eddé is the author of several novels including Pourquoi il fait si sombre? (Why is it so Dark?) as well as an essay on Jean Genet and a book of interviews with the psychoanalyst André Green. In 1991, she curated and published the photographic project ‘Beirut City Centre’ featuring, in particular, the work of Robert Frank and Joseph Koudelka. She lives in Turkey.

About the Translator

Ros Schwartz has translated over 60 works of fiction and non-fiction, particularly novels by contemporary Francophone writers including Andrée Chedid, Ousmane Sembène, Yasmina Khadra and Aziz Chouaki. Her co-translation (with Amanda Hopkinson) of Dominique Manotti’s Lorraine Connection won the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger Award. She was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2009. She is Chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation Programme.

Librarian’s Comments

A searing family saga set in modern Syria, Europe and the United States. All the elements of a Shakespearean historical tragedy are here, where a patriarch’s will to power creates generational damage, sorrow and chaos.

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