My Great Arab Melancholy

Lamia Ziadé


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Pluto Press
20 January 2024
ISBN: 9780745348155
424 pages

From the publisher

Winner of the Prix litteraire France-Liban 'A stunningly stylish, breathtakingly evocative tribute in words and art to the cosmopolitan Levant that exists in defiance of war and empire. I treasure my copy' Molly Crabapple, artist My Great Arab Melancholy is a beautiful, elegiac and award-winning book from Lebanese writer and illustrator Lamia Ziade. Blending the author's years of research, personal memoir, and more than 300 illustrations, this compelling history of the modern Arab world explores the major thinkers, struggles, and turning points that have shaped the Middle East as we know it today. Ziade begins in South Lebanon, 'land of martyrs, ruins, and passion', before taking the reader on a journey through Beirut, Jerusalem, Cairo, and Baghdad. The book moves from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day, tracing the Arab world's tragedies and the derailing of dreams and possibilities caused in large part by Western imperialism and the conquest of Palestine. Within these pages there are the blasts of explosions, blood, and tears; cemeteries, wreaths, and ribbons; martyrs and paradise. Ziade unearths the buried memory of resistance fighters and their lost ideals. In haunting prose and unforgettable images she celebrates the progressive, bold, revolutionary moments and figures of the Arab world's recent past.