Road to Damascus, A
published 2018 • 5.25" x 8" • 468 pages
ISBN 9781623719920 • paperback • $20.00 •
“A botany professor in pursuit of a rare Acacia along the road between Beirut and Damascus witnesses the massacre of seven people on a bus and hears the last words of one of the victims; a young man he collided into earlier that day. Thus begins the mystery of who the young man was, why he had a telescope pointed into the professor’s apartment, how the professor’s hometown fits into the young man’s familial history, and who orchestrated the killings, which also took the life of a respected government official. Taha’s home country of Lebanon sets the war-torn landscape as family secrets and hidden treasures open to the professor and his girlfriend while they trace the young victim’s life story. There’s a Hitchcockian tension as each peeled layer of history is carefully revealed, so it comes as no surprise that Taha is a student of film, nor that the novel is in development for a movie. In between twists in the mystery there are delectable moments of banter and conversation between the two protagonists. Taha’s novel is a welcome revelation in the mode of Salman Rushdie’s literary history-rich tales, though it is more straightforward. In all, a beautiful tale of loss, love, and the decisions that shape us.”
—Booklist (starred review)
A CINEMATIC DEBUT OF A PROMISING YOUNG NOVELIST FROM LEBANON
A Road to Damascus is a captivating thriller that reveals a nation’s deepest fears, a family’s intergenerational secrets, and an underworld of politics, religion, and obsession.
At dawn, a bus departs Beirut’s central station toward Damascus. Among its passengers is a prominent Lebanese politician. Before crossing the border, the bus is attacked and all seven passengers are gunned down. A botanist studying a rare occurrence of acacias nearby witnesses the horror.
While the nation plunges into conspiracy theories and chaos, the botanist realizes he holds the only clues to the mystery: his injured Acacia and a dying passenger’s last words, “Feed the cat.” This sends him on a quest for answers, through a minefield of questions he never dared ask about his country and about himself.
Meedo Taha is an author and filmmaker born into a Lebanese family of video bootleggers at a time when his country was at war with itself. His work explores questions of identity, with characters outside predefined social groups. In a creative free-fall, he received a scholarship to the University of Tokyo, wrote a PhD dissertation about the love affair between cinema and architecture, earned an MFA in Directing from UCLA, and taught college-level filmmaking in Dubai. His work has received support from Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope, the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation, Directors Guild of America, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Fondation Liban Cinéma, Royal Jordanian Film Commission, Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC), and Sundance Institute. A Road to Damascus is his first novel, and he is currently adapting it into a feature film. He lives with his family between Beirut and Los Angeles.
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