Author(s): Mischa Hiller
It is the summer of 1982 and Beirut is under siege. Eighteen-year-old Ivan's parents have just been evacuated from the city with other members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Ivan stays on, interpreting for international medical volunteers in Sabra refugee camp by day, getting stoned with them by night, and working undercover for the PLO. Hoping to get closer to Eli, a Norwegian physiotherapist, he helps her treat Youssef, a camp orphan disabled by a cluster bomb. An unexpected friendship develops between the three and things begin to look up - But events take a nasty turn when the president-elect is assassinated. The Israeli army enters Beirut and surrounds the camp, with Eli and Youssef trapped inside. What happens next makes international headlines and leaves Ivan scrabbling to salvage something from the chaos.
Winner of Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book - Eurasia 2010.
'A stunning, defiant debut' The Guardian 'A chilling rites-of-passage novel set in Beirut in 1982 during the killings in the camps' The Economist 'A moving and haunting novel, a narrative for our tormented times' Fergal Keane 'This darkly humorous, often harrowing novel demonstrates that in the chaos of conflict there are no easy or obvious decisions.' Metro 'A gripping novel about the conflict between personal and political loyalties' Telegraph 'Hauntingly written, with a wonderful touch for human feelings' Daily Mail 'Beautifully told,ambitous and important, this is a debut with something to say.' Ronan Bennett 'Harrowing and heartfelt but never overwrought - Hiller creates a truly terrifying vision of hell - A bold shift into the heart of darkness.' Independent 'Hiller's evocation of the war through a teenager's eyes gives this novel both depth and gravitas - This novel reminds us that even the chaos of war can't thwart the complexities of the human spirit and the mysteries of love.' Literary Review
Mischa Hiller was born in England in 1962 and grew up in London, Dar es Salaam and Beirut. Sabra Zoo won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book Europe and South Asia. Mischa also won the 2009 European Independent Film Festival script competition for his adaptation of the book. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and children.