A Good Land, By Nada Awar Jarrar

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The Independent Culture

Set before and after Israel's bombing of Beirut in 2006, Nada Awar Jarrar's third novel considers the fall-out of the attack on several inhabitants who have spent their lives on the move. Lebanese-born Layla has only recently returned from Australia after fleeing civil war as a child.

Palestinian Kamal is a refugee, writer and sometime lecturer; while Margo is an elderly European émigrée with a secret war-time past. At times the novel reads more like memoir than fiction, and it's tempting to cast Layla as Jarrar's fictional alter ego. Driving the narrative is the author's passionate attachment to her beleaguered and still beautiful city – a bond that is "impossible to abandon."

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