The Literature of Lebanon

A country the size of Connecticut, Lebanon contains over seven million people with different ethnic backgrounds, 18 religious sects, and a growing number of Syrian refugees fleeing armed conflict. Current demographics aside, Lebanon has been grappling with a civil war that has lasted on and off since 1975.

Out of Lebanon’s rich society and complex recent history, some interesting literature has emerged. Recently, I was fortunate enough to read and review Meedo Taha’s debut novel, A Road To Damascus. The novel exemplifies the struggle to reconcile the country’s beauty with its war-torn past and ever-uncertain present.

To follow is a modest selection from the many literary voices to come out of Lebanon. I’ve linked these titles to their Booklist reviews when available.



Always Coca-Cola, by Alexandra Chreiteh

A look at young Beirut, this debut novel follows the stories of three women attending university.


Bye Bye Babylon: Beirut 1975–1979, by Lamia Ziade

A memoir of the early years of the civil war graphically illustrated to emphasize the beauty of Lebanon and the tragic consequences of the war.


 De Niro’s Game, by Rawi Hage

Set in Beirut, this story follows a long friendship through the violence of civil war.


Disciples of Passion, by Hoda Barakat

A personal narrative of civil war atrocities as told by a Lebanese Christian man in love with a Muslim woman.


 The Hakawati, by Rabih Alameddine

A collage of Lebanese backgrounds that make up a family is constructed from the many stories its members tell and retell.


 An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine
The richly portrayed life story of a 70-year-old woman in Beirut and her undying passion for the written word.



About the Author:

Michael Ruzicka, Office Manager, was raised in suburban Los Angeles, received a BA in Creative Writing/Poetry at UC Santa Cruz, then moved to Birmingham, AL, where he spent five years owning an independent bookstore and earned an MLIS. He has brought his librarian skills to Vanderbilt’s Television News Archive, Battle Ground Academy, The Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Michael is very excited to be a part of Booklist and call Chicago his home.

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