The Silence and the Roar
By Nihad Sirees
A timely – yet timeless – novel about life and love under a Middle Eastern dictatorship
The Silence and the Roar is a funny, sensuous story of one writer's quest to find silence – quiet and calm – amidst the constant, inescapable roar of the crowds cheering on the Leader in one unbearably hot, dusty Middle Eastern country. Fathi, a writer no longer permitted to write, makes his way through a city churned by parades for an unnamed dictator. It is a day stifled by heat and the noise of the chants, a day of people trampled, and of the brutality and bullying of the party faithful. But Fathi presses treacherously against the crowd, attempting just to visit his mother and his girlfriend. The Silence and the Roar is a personal, urgent, funny and aggrieved novel. It asks what it means to have a conscience, or to laugh, or to endure in a time of the violence, strangeness and roar of tyranny. It is both a true literary achievement and an act of real courage by a brilliant Syrian writer.
Translated by Max Weiss
Cover illustration by Clare Skeats
Published 10 January 2013