Tell the Running Water

In a Beirut torn apart by civil war, two young men and a girl find their lives turned upside down almost before they have begun. Each must cross boundaries – geographical, political and personal – and these dangerous transgressions may cost them dearly. In this beautiful, haunting novel, in which narratives are constantly broken and rebuilt, the civil war creates its own rules of engagement and mercilessly invades the protagonist’ lives.

Praise for Tell the Running Water:

“In El-Zein’s elegy for Lebanon’s lost youth, dispassion and stylistic poise keep the horror of civil war at a just bearable distance. A remarkable first novel.”
Felicity Bloch, The Age

“…in his ambitious and highly charged novel, Tell the Running Water, Abbas El-Zein evokes the madness that gripped his country of birth from 1975 until 1990.”
Tony Maniaty, The Weekend Australian

“Documentary realism gives way to poetical grace in this first novel of destruction and self-discovery.”
Debra Adelaide, The Sydney Morning Herald, Weekend Edition

“Sometimes distressing but often compelling, Tell the Running Water is a powerful anti-war statement.”
Penelope Davie, The Courier Mail

“As timely as today’s headline, and as timeless as a Levantine love song, Abbas El-Zein draws on his own experience of Beirut’s bitter war to create a novel that is elegant and elegiac. This writer has the rarest combination of gifts: a scientist’s precision and a poet’s eloquence.”
Geraldine Brooks, author of People of the Book and Caleb’s Crossing

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