The Secret Maker of the World

A boatman fishes bodies from the Yellow River searching for the one he can claim. A construction worker speeds through the Indonesian jungle to board his plane on time. Playing a terrifying game of cat and mouse, an isolated sniper in Beirut observes the city from his rooftop perch. With profound insight El-Zein’s stories cross continents and time zones, effortlessly melding themes of loss and longing with larger questions of power, politics, faith and love. His characters, as provocative as they are diverse, confront issues of violence, justice and redemption with varying degrees of rage, suspense, satire and wit. With a sharp eye for the ridiculous, El-Zein’s collection cleverly illuminates stereotypes and contemplates global truths. These are worldly stories in the best sense, and wise ones.

Published by University of Queensland Press.

Praise for The Secret Maker of the World

‘… a global sensibility, sweeping through cultural clashes with stark revelation and flashes of humour.’ The Weekend Australian, Portia Lindsay

‘… a compelling, lyrical piece of storytelling and an admirable work of research. Competing senses of disbelief, loss and frustration are evoked through precise description and astute philosophical insights. It is this combination of poetic vigour and scholarly reflection that gives the collection its power.’ Australian Book Review, Ben Smith

‘These stories range across time and culture, yet somehow sit outside both. They are often disturbing and beautiful in the same moment. A stark, moving and memorable collection.’ Eva Hornung author of Dog Boys

‘… vivid, lyrical prose unfolding with dexterity over the course of stories content to take their time.’ ArtsHub, Travis Englefield

Its characters come at us from places of extreme or unusual experience, from diverse historical periods and geographical spread.’ The Melbourne Review, David Sorning

‘There is something fable-like inherent in El-Zein’s prose, aiding a sense of timelessness.’ Readings, Chris Somerville

‘What is beguiling and brilliant about Abbas El-Zein’s use of deafness as a fictional trope … is the dreamscape it permits beneath the surface of its apparently silent condition.’ The Sydney Review of Books, Michelle Cahill

‘… sweet and brutal, funny and elegiac …’ Mascara Review, Tessa Lunney

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