1980s Syria, our young narrator is living a secluded life behind the veil in the vast and perfumed house of her grandparents in Aleppo. Her three aunts, Maryam the pious one; Safaa, the liberal; and the free-spirited Marwa, bring her up with the aid of their ever-devoted blind servant.
Soon the high walls of the family home are unable to protect her from the social and political changes outside. Witnessing the crackdowns of the ruling dictatorship against Muslims, she is filled with hatred for her oppressors, and becomes increasingly fundamentalist. In the footsteps of her beloved uncle Bakr, she takes on the party, launching herself into a fight for her religion, her country, and ultimately, her own future.
On a backdrop of real-life events that occurred during the Syrian regime's ruthless suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s, IN PRAISE OF HATRED is a stirring, sensual story. Its elegant use of traditional, layered storytelling is a powerful echo of the modern-day tragedy that is now taking place in the Middle East.
Khaled Khalifa was born in 1964, in a village close to Aleppo, Syria. He is the fifth child of a family of thirteen siblings.
He studied law at Aleppo University and actively participated in the foundation of Aleph magazine with a group of writers and poets. A few months later, the magazine was closed down by Syrian censorship.
He currently lives in Damascus where he writes scripts for cinema and television.
"The novel is at once startling, creative and bold because of its tight construction and well-drawn characters" -- Dr Khaled Hroub, Cambridge University "A Balzacian tale full of romance and murder that ranges from Afghanistan to Yemen to Syria" New York Times "Chillingly true to life" Financial Times "That Khalifa has chosen to profile fanaticism from a feminine perspective, rather than the more predictable 'male martyr', is this book's great innovation ... courageous" Independent "Gloriously vivacious and nuanced" Guardian