His fiction contains a longing for and a deep understanding of unfamiliar and lost cultures and civilisations, in all their magnificence, brutality, culture and delusions. […] Maalouf is justly praised for his profound understanding that we cannot know ourselves unless we know our history. His is a unique voice.
Of course, reviewer Justin Cartwright is playing to the exotic fetishism of his british audience, since to us here in Lebanon, Maalouf’s are not “unfamiliar and lost cultures” but very much a big part of our historical awareness. That however doesn’t take away from Mr. Maalouf’s achievement, and I recommend his work to all our reader..