They didn’t talk at first, but after a few minutes Bolbol wanted to try and exorcise his fear. Khaled Khalifa’s Death Is Hard Work is the new novel from the greatest chronicler of Syria’s ongoing and catastrophic civil war: a tale of three ordinary people facing down the stuff of nightmares armed with little more than simple determination. There were mass graves everywhere filled with casualties who’d never even been identified. Try Prime EN Hello, Sign in Account & Lists Sign in Account & Lists Returns & Orders Try Prime Cart. Death is Hard Work is a retelling of As I Lay Dying by Faulkner. Abdel La­ tif’s eyes were gleaming as he tried and failed to raise his hand to wave to his comrades. Rites and rituals meant nothing now. It's only as he's contacting his sister, Fatima, and his brother, Hussein, that the enormity of his promise hits him. A vivid picture of life and death in Syria, with thankfully fleshed out characters. Abdel Latif, an old man from the Aleppo region, dies peacefully in a hospital bed in Damascus. I am thinking this may be one of my top ten this year and as such I want to fill the review with superlatives reflecting my enjoyment. Shenanigans ensue and things get pretty bleak. A large consignment of soldiers’ corpses would arrive at dawn from the outskirts of Damascus, where the fighting never stopped. This was gorgeous but tough to get through for the sensitive among us (me). The translator has a colossal job of getting ideas and thought along with words from one culture to another. He guessed that they were mostly taxi drivers trapped by the closure of various roads, waiting for dawn so they could go home. Books . He considered these few words his last wish and added nothing that might render them the least bit ambiguous. Death is Hard Work Author: Khaled Khalifa Course: AP Language Genre: Fiction. Khalifa is a soulful and perfectly unsentimental writer. A simple trip to bury a father becomes a dangerous ordeal. Bolbol, later, regretted not having stood up to his father. The narrative shifting from present to presenting the background of all characters, its lack of sentimentalism, a very hard thing to achieve given the topic, the description of Syrian situation with an astonishing neutral/realistic though not unconcerned tone. It raises many good questions one of which is: once you've lost your sense of self, is life even worth living? He should have reminded his father how difficult it would be to carry out his instructions given the current situation. Bolbol felt himself become lighter and braver, his worries lift­ ing away. Death Is Hard Work (eBook) : Khalīfah, Khālid, 1964- : A dogged, absurd quest through the nightmare of the Syrian civil war Khaled Khalifa's Death Is Hard Work is the new novel from the greatest chronicler of Syria's ongoing and catastrophic civil war: a tale of three ordinary people facing down the stuff of nightmares armed with little more than simple determination. Um Kulthoum on the car radio—willing to take him. But one thing I noticed having finished the book, was the number of mixed and poor reviews. After enjoining Bolbol to be good to his father, they vanished down a well-guarded side road leading back to the orchards surrounding the village. I really wanted to like this novel more, but it was just unbelievably monotonous. For the first time, everyone was truly equal in death. Abdel Latif, an old man, dies peacefully in a hospital bed in Damascus. He looked for a taxi to take him to his brother’s house after successive attempts to phone him had failed. Skip to main content. While the horrors of war is the back drop of this story, it is primarily a story about ordinary people trying to live their lives amidst the war. A silent funeral is a funeral stripped of all its awe, Bolbol thought. It’s almost a manual of what it is like to live in a dystopian society that is disintegrating while we watch. The trio have to maneuver through areas controlled by both sides of the war, and they all present a danger to them in their own ways. He was writing about civil war, too. 3.71 out of 5. The driver laughed and informed him that three of his brothers as well as all of their children had died a month before in an air strike. Hussein opened the door, and when he saw Bolbol standing there at that time of the morning, he knew what had happened. Customer service is our top priority! Death wasn’t even a source of distress anymore: it had become an escape much envied by the living. Death Is Hard Work (Book) : Khalīfah, Khālid : A dogged, absurd quest through the nightmare of the Syrian civil war, Khaled Khalifa's Death Is Hard Work is the new novel from the greatest chronicler of Syria's ongoing and catastrophic civil war: a tale of three ordinary people facing down the stuff of nightmares armed with little more than simple determination. Translator Leri Price is the amazing translator of author Khaled Khalifa’s new novel “Death is Hard Work.” This is a short novel, a mere 180 pages. Leri Price, who has translated Khalifa before, is alive and faithful to the Syrian’s unadorned and direct prose, sentences that often … Abdel Latif, an old man from the Aleppo region, dies peacefully in a hospital bed in Damascus. He remembered how his eyes shone at chat moment, how his heart had thudded, how his knees trembled, how he carried her. Khaled Khalifa . There is so much goi. Death Is Hard Work (Book) : Khalīfah, Khālid : A dogged, absurd quest through the nightmare of the Syrian civil war Khaled Khalifa's Death Is Hard Work is the new novel from the greatest chronicler of Syria's ongoing and catastrophic civil war: a tale of three ordinary people facing down the stuff of nightmares armed with little more than simple determination. That way there’ll be enough room for everyone else to travel comfortably.” He meant Bolbol and their sister, Fatima, but if their in-laws wanted to come along, too, well, they wouldn’t be in the way. Skip to main content.ca Hello, Sign in. I know nothing of the country, but Khalifa articulates here a sharp and very harsh world with fantastic complexity and doubt, and if it's one of which I shudder to think. Footer Links body would be big trouble. He had thought that his father would ask for some sort of precautionary guarantee of Nevine’s rights to the family home, seeing as they had married only recently. He considered texting Hussein the news, but it would have been beneath contempt to let him know that way. This novel is sad, difficult and important. This odyssey with a rotting corpse reminded me of Kafka and some of the old existentialist novels, like. Death is Hard Work Reviews. This idea was soon rejected, though: they couldn’t imagine that anyone else would still har­bor any sense of duty toward this man whose corpse would have to negotiate hundreds of miles to reach its final resting place. This body would be big trouble. It seems like it wouldn't take very long since essentially, the main plot of the book is this sibling trio taking their father's body to a town 2.5 hours away that'll take a bit longer due to the ongoing civil war in Syria. leading back to the orchards surrounding the village. It's two hours away and without thinking Bolbol agrees. Find great deals for Death Is Hard Work. Translated works can be cumbersome to read. Resolved to be silent in his last hours, he closed his eyes, ignoring the people around him, and sank  into  solitude with a smile. In the book he mentions they are from S. Where is this mysterious S? This book is about three siblings in modern day Syria trying to fulfill their father's dying wish to be buried in the town he grew up with, where is sister is buried. I think it was intentionally kept shrouded. Imprint: Faber & Faber . The two brothers and their sister load up his body into a minibus and embark on a journey from Damascus to Anabiya that should take two and a half hours. Reluctantly, the three estranged siblings embark in a perilous drive through the Syrian tragic landscape. ISBN 9780571346042 Published 07/03/2019 . It turned out to be another example of Death Bed Lit. But Faulkner wasn’t writing only about the South. But this simple promise is complicated by the fact that they are in Syria in the midst of a civil war, and the trip that they optimistically believe will take a day soon becomes a nightmarish odyssey where they are detained, questioned, bombed and imprisoned—all while their father’s body decomposes in their van along with the last remaining family bonds between them. In-depth synopsis. Death Is Hard Work is a short book, but one learns more detail of the life of war than from a hundred newspaper and TV reports. Thanks to a fleeting moment of sentiment, Bolbol had promised to bury his father in the same grave as Bolbol’s aunt—whom he had never even met. The dying can’t wait to fling aside their burdens, the better, Bolbol, later, regretted not having stood up to his father. This book is one of the most quietly devastating things I've read in a long time. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His final wish, conveyed to his youngest son, Bolbol, is to be buried in the … Copyright © 2019 by Leri Price. I do feel like I was left with a more complete understanding of what ordinary people are going through in Syria and other areas of the world that are suffering from wars. Death Is Hard Work is a tale of three people embarking on an absurd quest - an unforgettable journey into a contemporary heart of darkness. He felt as though he were suffocating beneath the weight of his new predicament. . He said, “We’ll lay the body here. His father had been im­maculate when the fighters brought him to Damascus from the besieged S; it was clear that they had taken good care of their comrade, this man who’d chosen to stay with them through more than three years of siege. AbeBooks.com: Death Is Hard Work: A Novel: Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Now his body was laid out on a metal stretcher in a public hos­pital. Khalifa … Bolbol, in a rare moment of courage, under the influence of his father’s parting words and sad, misted eyes, acted firmly and with­ out fear. . Our final moments in this life aren’t generally an appropriate time for clear-eyed reflection; indeed, they always find us at our most sentimental. I would have liked to understand her motivations and backstory more - but perhaps that says something about modern day Syria as well. However, the reader doesn't just get to see the family dynamics between the siblings in the car; we're treated to their pasts and how they've shaped these people into who they are at the time the novel takes place. let the dying man feel chat he has been abandoned. He told  It takes place in present-day Syria and tells the story of three estranged siblings who come together to carry out their father's final wish. Likely not. There were mass graves everywhere filled with casualties who’d never even been identified. Khaled Khalifa’s Death Is Hard Work is the new novel from the greatest chronicler of Syria’s ongoing and catastrophic civil war: a tale of three ordinary people facing down the stuff of nightmares armed with little more than simple determination. . I’m not finished and that’s that. February 12th 2019 Death Is Hard Work: Khalifa, Khaled: 9780571346059: Books - Amazon.ca. Only residents could possibly have known which routes were per­missible and which forbidden. He thought of Nevine: her smile, her scent, her naked body wrapped in a black abaya as she tried to float like the butterflies they were collecting. Death Is Hard Work (Book) : Khalīfah, Khālid : FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR TRANSLATED LITERATURE A dogged, absurd quest through the nightmare of the Syrian civil war Khaled Khalifa's Death Is Hard Work is the new novel from the greatest chronicler of Syria's ongoing and catastrophic civil war: a tale of three ordinary people facing down the stuff of nightmares armed with … Bolbol would never forget that scene. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include cdrom or access codes. I’m off to better books. The poor and the rich, officers and infantry in the regime’s army, armed squadron commanders, regular soldiers, random passersby, and those who would remain forever anonymous: all were buried with the same pitiful pro­ cessions. Having promised his dying father, Abdel Latif, that he will transport his body back to his hometown for burial, Bolbol enlists the help of his estranged brother Hussein and sister Fatima to carry out Abdel Latif’s wishes. Bolbol quickly reached an understanding with him and didn’t argue with the fare that he was quoted. The trip, which would take only a few hours in peace-time, is a multi-day journey through dangerous, war-torn Syria. He had thought that his father would ask for some sort of precautionary guarantee of Nevine’s rights to the family home, seeing as they had married only recently. 2019-03-07. Wars are probably never simple affairs, but the Syrian civil war seems more complicated than most of the wars that have been in the news in the last decades. The city streets were a wasteland after eight in the evening, and he had to move the body tomorrow morning, after it was released and before midday. I am not sure whether the other reviewers and I came to the novel with different expectations, but for me the novel succeeded on multiple levels and was a five star read. ISBN: 9780571346042 . The trio have to maneuver through areas controlled by both sides of th. The characters aren't exactly likable, but I found myself hoping that they find what they needed none the less. The following is from Leri Price's translation of Khaled Khalifa's novel, Death Is Hard Work. The translator has a colossal job of getting ideas and thought along with words from one culture to another. It relates to three siblings trying to get their father’s body back to his hometown for burial. Praise for Death Is Hard Work “Refusing to look away from its characters’ challenges, the novel is clear-eyed in its presentation of living in a war zone. The Arabic culture is different in many ways from American culture. Is it a real place? 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