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Sophia
or The Beginning of All Tales
Rafik Schami; translated by Monique Arav and John Hannon

published 2017 • 5 ¼” x 8” • 480 pages
ISBN 9781566560313 • paperback • $20.00

A MASTERPIECE FROM THE BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF THE DARK SIDE OF LOVE

A murder in Damascus, a love with the power to save a young man’s life… In his latest novel, Rafik Schami ventures to the land of his childhood, where he is now unable to safely return: Syria.

As a young girl, Sophia falls deeply in love with Karim, but weds a rich goldsmith instead. A few years later, Karim is accused of an assassination he did not commit and Sophia saves his life. He promises that she will forever have his loyalty, no matter the risk to himself. Long after the incident is buried in memory, Sophia's only son, Salman, returns to Damascus after forty years of exile in Italy; when his photo appears in the newspaper, he is forced into hiding and fears for his life. Remembering Karim’s promise, Sophia decides to call on him for help in spite of the many years that have passed, and the lost opportunity of their once-consuming passion.

Set during the tumultuous years leading up to the Arab Spring, Sophia delivers the intricate plotting and lyrical prose that Schami’s readers expect, and reveals the power of love to overcome all barriers of time and circumstance.

Rafik Schami was born in Damascus in 1946, came to Germany in 1971 to study, and stayed on to become a leading German novelist and a pivotal figure in the European migrant literature movement. His novels have been translated into 22 languages and have received numerous international literary awards including the Hermann Hesse Prize. His translated works published by Interlink include Damascus Nights, The Calligrapher’s Secret, A Hand Full of Stars, and The Dark Side of Love, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was a 2010 Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal.

Praise for Rafik Schami’s The Dark Side of Love
“Romance, mystery, family saga, political exploration… This is an enthralling page-turner that will invite readers to find out how the pieces fit together; it also offers prose as succulent as sweetmeats that begs to be savored.”
—Foreword Magazine

“A doorstop of a novel, this story of love and blood feuds set in Damascus, filled with myths and legends and enough tragedy to last a few lifetimes, opens with a murder and goes deep into a century of Syria's history, politics and religion. Break out the baklava and let it rain.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“At last, the Great Arab Novel--appearing without ifs, buts, equivocations, metaphorical camouflage or hidden meanings... Schami's book is exceptional not only in the scope of his ambition... but also in its ability to juggle a vast cast of characters in a complex structure which the author himself likens to a mosaic of pieces that create their own patterns... the book is a compulsive read.”
—The Independent

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