A memoir by Zena El Khalil. This is the story of Zena, a young woman who has fallen under the spell of a city that threatens to engulf her in war, grief and love affairs.
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Saqi Books, Beirut, 2009
13 x 20 cm
In the streets armed militias carve out their territories, while ragged construction workers rebuild the city. Refugees sleep five to a bed as bleach-blondes wend their way to the next drug-fuelled supernightclub. At any moment, the bombs will start falling. Meanwhile, Zena and her best friend Maya must try to make sense of their lives amidst the craziness, and negotiate the city's many obsessions including cosmetic surgery, husband hunting and Kalashnikovs. As honest as it is forgiving, this artist's memoir pits love and art against the ever-present threat of war.
Zena el Khalil, born 1976 in London, has lived in Nigeria, London, New York and Beirut. She is an installation artist, painter, curator and environmental activist. During the July 2006 attacks on Lebanon, her blog beirutupdate.blogspot.com received international acclaim. It was publicised on news portals such as CNN and the BBC and excerpted in The Guardian and Der Spiegel online. She lives and works in Beirut