Monday, April 02, 2007

jad el hage's new novel 'the myrtle tree'

The Lebanese author and journalist Jad El Hage is interviewed on Australian radio station SBS about his new novel The Myrtle Tree, published in London by Banipal Books. The interview can be listened to via the SBS website. El Hage, who divides his time between Lebanon and Australia, will be visiting Britain soon to promote the novel. El Hage's first novel published in English was The Last Migration (Panache, 2002). This novel's first-person narrator Saad migrates from Lebanon first to Australia and then to London where he lives in Shepherd's Bush and works for an Arabic newspaper -a CV not a million miles from El Hage's own.

The SBS introduction to the interview says: "Lebanon's devastating 15 year civil war was as confusing to the Lebanese people as it was to outsiders. At one point, more than 30 groups were involved in an environment of shifting alliances, with foreign powers and internal warlords, resulting in devastating violence. That's according to our next guest, whose book; The Myrtle Tree takes a very personal view of the conflict. Jad el Hage worked as a journalist in Lebanon until 1985 when he emigrated to Australia. With Lebanon again facing internal tensions, The Myrtle Tree is a fresh reminder of how quickly and easily things can get out of control. It is not so much a political analyses of the civil war but a very personal view of life in a small village during the war but the book gives perhaps a greater understanding of the conflict than is possible from any newspaper article. Jad el Hage is speaking with Greg Muller."

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