Publishing House: Seagull Books

Publication Year: 2022

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 352

Firefly: A Riveting Tale of a Young Man Navigating the Fractured Worlds of Muslim and Christian Communities Amidst the Lebanese Civil War.

Firefly offers a compelling snapshot of Beirut during the onset of the Lebanese Civil War in the early ’70s, unfolding through the complex life of Nizam al-Alami. His national ID remains ambiguous on the subject of religion. Born into a Muslim family, he was baptized and raised as a Christian by Touma and Rakheema, the owners of an orchard he stumbled upon as a child.

As an adult, Nizam moves to Beirut to study law. However, he soon grows restless with academic life and sets out to explore the city’s tapestry on his own terms. His apartment evolves into a haven for his communist friends, and he finds himself captivated by Janan, a tortured artist whose foreboding paintings seem to predict the city’s upcoming turmoil. When the war splinters Beirut into a Christian-dominated East and a Muslim-controlled West, Nizam’s apartment morphs into a sanctuary for armed rebels. Meanwhile, Burj Square is stripped bare, save for the Martyrs’ Statue that stands as a mute witness to the city’s unfolding tragedy.

Through the lens of Nizam’s life, Jabbour Douaihy navigates us through the maze of ostracization, displacement, and violence that Nizam encounters in a society that views him as an outcast. Nizam, much like the elusive fireflies that fascinated him in his youth, represents the flickering hope for those who defy simplistic, binary identities and inhabit the gray areas in between. Douaihy poses the unsettling question: How long can this fragile light of hope endure?

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