risc book club: No Knives in the Kitchens of This City
date: Thu 25th April 2019 time: 19:30 venue: room 1 price: free contact: michele@risc.org.uk

By Khaled Khalifa (tr by Leri Price) – Syria

Khalifa portrays his native city under the grip of the Assad regimes though the lives of one family over three generations. In the once beautiful city of Aleppo, the family descends into tragedy and ruin. Irrepressible Sawsan flirts with militias, the ruling party, and finally religion, seeking but never finding salvation. She and her siblings and mother are slowly choked in violence and decay, as their lives are plundered by a brutal regime. Set between the 1960s and 2000s, the novel unravels the systems of fear and control under Assad. With eloquence and startling honesty, it speaks of the persecution of a whole society. The story shifts in time and between characters, but Aleppo as a character is a constant, its culture and cuisine, a city with a vibrant life. Khalifa, in lush and sensual prose, chronicles the collapse of the city: “Cities die, just like people.” 256pp