By Roseanne Saad Khalaf
Lebanon four journeys to the past, is a lively collection of stories that relate
the adventures of colorful characters who fearlessly pursued their dreams.
Lady Hester Stanhope, free-spirited and eccentric, fled the dreary confines
of 19th century England in search of self-fulfillment and freedom unknown to
her European counterparts. Sarah Smith's missionary zeal and vision, on the
other hand, led her to compose a sensitive and questioning life that challenged
the certainty of her husband's dogmatic opinions. Despite failing health, and
an untimely death, she succeeded in establishing the first school for girls
in the entire region.
In another journey, an old woman trapped in an oppressive political setting
perceptively re-examines the meaning of her life. Finally, the author draws
on memory to trace her own childhood in the mountains of Lebanon made so magical
by the presence of her grandparents.
Althougth the tales are inspired by the past, the characters transcend the
boundaries of age, gender, class, and nation. Like the author herself, they
are "suspended between two worlds," but in different ways, at various
times and places, and seeking creative solutions.
With the unique gift for vivid narrative, Khalaf sketches scenes and characters
so intense and vibrant that the reader is left with a sense of having participated
in their lives. History and fiction are imaginatively intertwined to recreate
an enchanting world gone by. Written with exceptional wit and clarity, this
is a book to be enjoyed by anyone not too old in spirit to delight in a good
About the author:
Roseanne Saad Khalaf directs the creative writing departement at the American
University of Beirut (AUB). She is the author of Once upon a time in Lebanon
(1982), a collection of short stories for children. Khalaf was educated at AUB,
Harvard and Simmons College. She has 2 sons, and currently lives in Beirut with
her husband Samir Khalaf, a sociologist.
1998, Softcover, 152 pages, 14 x 23 cm (6" x 9")