Fiction in Translation
English edition  
September  2016
224 pp.
13X20.5 cm
ISBN 9789774167812
For sale worldwide


No Knives in the Kitchens of This City

A Novel Khaled Khalifa
Translated by Leri Price

A profound portrayal of life under tyranny by an acclaimed Syrian writer

In the once beautiful city of Aleppo, one Syrian family descends into tragedy and ruin. Irrepressible Sawsan flirts with militias, the ruling party, and finally religion, seeking but never finding salvation. She and her siblings and mother are slowly choked in violence and decay, as their lives are plundered by a brutal regime. Set between the 1960s and 2000s, No Knives in the Kitchens of this City unravels the systems of fear and control under Assad. With eloquence and startling honesty, it speaks of the persecution of a whole society.
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Khaled Khalifa was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1964. A founding editor of the literary magazine Alif, he is the author of four novels, including In Praise of Hatred. He has also written numerous scripts for TV dramas and films, several of which have won awards, and screenplays for several feature films. No Knives in the Kitchens of This City was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 2013 and was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2014. Leri Price is the translator of Khaled Khalifa's In Praise of Hatred.

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"Critically acclaimed . . . [No Knives in the Kitchens of this City] traces the degrading and destructive impact of Syria's dictatorship on the lives of a family from Aleppo."—Financial Times<br><br>"A searing indictment of the Syrian regime."—Marcia Lynx Qualey, The National<br><br>"[Khalifa is] one of the rising stars of Arab fiction . . . a rare public voice."—New York Times<br><br>

“Intricately plotted, chronologically complicated and a pleasure to read. . . . The writing is superb—a dense, luxurious realism pricked with surprising metaphors. It is lyrical, sensuous and so semantically rich that at times it resembles a prose poem . . . . A sad but beautiful book, providing important human context to the escalating Syrian tragedy.”—Robin Yassin-Kassab, The Guardian<br><br>"Required reading for anyone who wants to better understand the roots of the uprising and current conflict in Syria."—Literary Hub<br><br>

“Khalifa writes a raw, exquisite account of the Assad regime’s loosening grip on [Syria] and the accompanying chaos.”—Washington Independent Review of Books<br><br>"One of Syria's most celebrated novelists."—Financial Times<br><br>

“Khaled Khalifa writes about his native city with sensuality and an almost feral intensity . . . . No Knives in the Kitchens of This City offers a glimpse into how terrified and empty of hope the people of a city must be to rise up in revolt. The future offers them nothing. It is a castle of closed doors. . . . The sights, smells and horror of living in Aleppo come pounding to life in this book. The place, to me, is no longer an abstraction, and Mr. Khalifa clearly fears for its fate throughout.”—Jennifer Senior, New York Times<br><br>

“The poetry and lyricism of the prose make for an easy and compelling read. . . . The author gives us an encapsulated view of the region’s political and social history from the First World War to the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. A very timely read.”—PowellsBooks.Blog<br><br>

“Magnificent . . . offers a bigger vision, reminding us that all politics are personal.”—Barnes & Noble Review<br><br>

“An important and at times overwhelming read. Khalifa’s text perfectly creates a space for us to think about the scope and weight of history in the lives of individuals and how those people in far off places are just that: people.” By Philip Rafferty, Portland Book Review<br><br>

“Khaled Khalifa unfolds the events of this story with incredible talent, dealing with delicate topics, such as homosexuality and mental illness, with great sensitivity. . . . The novel is an enjoyable read which keeps the reader entertained till the end. . . . No Knives in the Kitchens of This City is a much needed work of literature, which helps the foreign reader understand the suffering of the Syrian people without aiming at cheap emotional effect, but providing food for thought and an invitation to be ever more compassionate.” Laura Fererri, Banipal

"It's a nuanced, sensual read which should leave the reader thinking about Aleppo's future and whose hands (or knives) will shape it."—AA Bastian, Washington Independent Review of Books

Shortlisted for the ALTA National Translation Award

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