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    The Road from Damascus

    By: Robin Yassin-Kassab

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    It is summer 2001 and Sami Traifi has escaped his fraying marriage and minimal job prospects to visit Damascus. In search of his roots and himself, he instead finds a forgotten uncle in a gloomy back room, and an ugly secret about his beloved father... Returning to London, Sami finds even more to test him as his young wife Muntaha reveals that she is taking up the hijab. Sami embarks on a wilfully ragged journey in the opposite direction, away from religion – but towards what? As Sami struggles to understand Muntaha’s newly-deepened faith, her brother Ammar’s hip hop Islamism and his father-in-law’s need to see grandchildren, so his emotional and spiritual unraveling begins to accelerate. And the more he rebels, the closer he comes to betraying those he loves, edging ever-nearer to the brink of losing everything… Set against a powerfully-evoked backdrop of multi-ethnic, multi-faith London, The Road from Damascus explores themes as big as love, faith and hope, and as fundamental as our need to believe in something bigger than ourselves, whatever that might be.

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