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The Silence and the Roar


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About the Author

Nihad Sirees was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1950. After training and working as an engineer, he became an acclaimed novelist, playwright and screenwriter. After finding himself under increasing surveillance and pressure from the Syrian government, in 2012 he left for Egypt and now lives and works in exile. The Silence and the Roar was first published in Arabic, in Beirut, in 2004. It has been translated into German and French. This is its first publication in English.


Profound and topical ... a chilling portrait of a people whose lives are dominated by fear -- Lucy Popescu Independent on Sunday An excellent novel ... while The Silence and the Roar is a slender novel, it is far from slight -- Malcolm Forbes The National The theatre of the absurd that is everyday life in a totalitarian society is the subject of Nihad Sirees's urgent new novel, a searing political allegory in the tradition of Orwell and Camus. The portrait of a banned writer wandering the streets of a nameless dictatorship that Arab readers will recognize all too well, Sirees's book would be unbearably bleak if it weren't so funny: its narrator's caustic irreverence is his rebellion against the tyrant's roar that would reduce him to silence -- Adam Shatz In this short, satiric fable, a formerly famous writer silenced by an authoritarian regime finds himself in a predicament where Kafka meets Catch-22 Kirkus With biting humor Nihad Sirees reveals the extraordinary injustices of ordinary life under the oppressive rule of the Leader. This country remains unnamed but the richly rendered story illuminates the hard reality of the many Middle Eastern states in political transition today -- Shahan Mufti A chillingly prophetic novel. In spare, razor-sharp prose, Sirees describes the effects of authoritative rule on the psyche of an unbreakable and irrepressible artist. Timely, powerful, and searing -- Randa Jarrar A dark, bitter satire about the leadership cult in an Arab dictatorship -- Qantara Susanna Schanda Called the Kafka of the Middle East, [Sirees] dismantles with metaphoric touches all the apparatus of a system that compress the individual and his freedom of speech France Inter [Sirees] lasciviously mocks with a caustic irony the one he names 'the leader' Le Journal du Dimanche Syrian writer Sirees takes on, with piercing insight, the huge themes of freedom, individuality, integrity, and, yes, love, in this beautiful, funny, and life-affirming novel. Publishers Weekly This is a small dystopian treasure of Gogolian texture, nightmarish but light, self-referential but never pretentious. Eerie, banal, yet bearing the cold imprint of reality, Sirees's vision of tyranny, superlatively translated, is distinctive enough to be ranked with Orwell, Huxley or Marquez's. -- Robin Yassin-Kassab Independent

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