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Self Discovery Through a Criminal Confession

Who is the true Yalo?

YaloYalo"Yalo establishes Khoury as the sort of novelist whose name is inseparable from a city. Los Angeles has Joan Didion and Raymond Chandler, and Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk. The beautiful, resilient city of Beirut belongs to Khoury."—Laila Lalami, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“In Lebanon, there is passion and there is blood. Elias Khoury’s new novel, Yalo, heavy with both, is a dizzying journey into the extremes of human experience—into the intense sensuality and stomach-turning violence."--Adam LeBor, The New York Times Book Review

Yalo propels us into a skewed universe of brutal misunderstanding, of love and alienation, of self-discovery and luminous transcendence. At the center of the vortex stands Yalo, a young man drifting between worlds like a stray dog on the streets of Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. Living with his mother who: lost her face in the mirror,” he falls in with a dangerous circle whose violent escapades he treats as a game. The game becomes a horrifying reality, however, when Yalo is accused of rape and armed robbery, ad is imprisoned. Tortured and interrogated at length, he is forced to confess to crimes of which he has little or no recollection. As he writes, and rewrites his testimony, he begins to grasp his family’s past, and the true Yalo begins to emerge. Ha’aretz calls Yalo “a heartbreaking book…hypnotic in beauty.”

This is the second book by one of the Levantine Center’s recommended authors.  Khoury works as an artist reflecting the emotional depths of darkness that humanity can sometimes fall. Although Khoury does not shy from the devastations of man, he reminds us of empathy and the human ability to share a connection.