Publisher description for A house at the edge of tears / Venus Khoury-Ghata.


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In the city of Beirut, five shabby dwellings circle a courtyard with a pomegranate tree weeping blood red fruit. The residents hear screams in the night as a boy is tossed out into the street by his father—a punishment for masturbating in his sleep. A crime not worthy of the punishment: the neighbors gossip and decide that he must have tried to rape his sisters. “Small-boned with long, silky lashes, no one but the devil could camouflage evil so seductively.” The poems he writes are perhaps an even greater crime to his father, but ultimately a gift to his eldest sister, who narrates their story with a combination of brutal truth and stunning prose. As her brother becomes more and more lost to his family and to himself, we also learn of a Contessa who teaches tango, a family who spends every Sunday in search of buried treasure, and the miracle of a weeping Madonna statue that cries when human tears run dry.

In this harrowing and mesmerizing novel, celebrated novelist and poet, Khoury-Ghata, presents the disintegration of a family and a country—both ruled by a fury fueled by fear.



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