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Head of Zeus
Roundabout of Death by Faysal Khartash, translated by Max Weiss

A powerful and beautiful Syrian novel set in Aleppo during the early days of the civil war that followed the Arab Spring.

The central character who observes and lives through the literal disintegration and pulverising of his beautiful native city, Aleppo, is a schoolteacher. Through his eyes, in a mixture of first and third person narration, we experience the razing of entire neighbourhoods, the apparently random dropping of barrel bombs, the bewildering variety of militias and government security forces loyal to Assad, the arbitrary cruelties and the complicated journeys that people have to make simply to cross the city.

The title refers to a notorious crossing point between sections of the city held by different factions.

Roundabout of Death offers powerful witness to the violence that obliterated the ancient city's rich layers of history, its neighbourhoods and medieval and Ottoman landmarks. Aleppo was home to Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Christians and other sects. The war tore those communities apart and made their city a wasteland.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Fiction
06 Jan 2022 * 176pp * £10.99 * 9781801107273
'A masterful distillation of one of the great tragedies of the twenty-first century, as stripped of artifice and sentimentality as it is undergirded with insight and empathy. Roundabout of Death is essential reading'
Dan Mayland, author of The Doctor of Aleppo
'A brilliant, kaleidoscopic and claustrophobic portrayal of the Syrian civil war. Khartash's spare prose eloquently conveys horrors that require no rhetorical elevation. This is a fine book that deserves a wide readership, both on its own merits and because the Syrian disaster is by no means over'
Jonathan Spyer, author of Days of the Fall: A Reporter's Journey in the Syria and Iraq Wars
'Some books stand as monuments to wars from which they arise. This is one of those books'
Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue and Waiting for Eden
'A heartwrenching and shocking work of historical fiction, Faysal Khartash's Roundabout of Death focuses on the human cost of Syria's civil war ... The novel follows Jumaa, an unemployed Arabic teacher who struggles to live peacefully in a dangerous city ... A powerful novel that takes a humane view of Syria's devastation'
Foreword Reviews
Faysal Khartash
Faysal Khartash
Faysal Khartash is a leading Syrian author. He lives in his native Aleppo, has written several novels and works as a schoolteacher while contributing to Syrian newspapers.

Max Weiss

Max Weiss
Max Weiss teaches the history of the modern Middle East at Princeton University. He has translated books by Nihad Sirees, Dunya Mikhail and Samar Yazbek.
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