Guard of the Dead

Guard of the Dead

Author: George Yaraq

Publishing House: Hoopoe

Publication Year: 2019

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 244

In “Guard of the Dead,” Lebanese author George Yaraq masterfully portrays the harrowing realities of the Lebanese civil war. The novel centers on Aber, a character whose life becomes tragically entwined with the war’s chaos and brutality. Aber’s story in “Guard of the Dead” begins in his village, where an unexpected incident endangers his life and sets him on a path filled with adversity.

Forced to flee, Aber lands in Beirut amidst the peak of the civil war. Struggling for survival in the chaotic city, he reluctantly joins a militia. Aber’s choice stems from urgent needs for essentials, such as food and shelter, a drastic change from his past poverty.

Aber’s role shifts significantly when he begins working at a hospital morgue, preparing bodies for burial and transitioning from militia to caretaker of the deceased. This role brings him face to face with the war’s grim reality, offering a profound look at human suffering and endurance.

Aber’s past, filled with violence and struggle, haunts him, symbolizing the broader tragedy of the Lebanese civil war. The conflict’s deep scars on the nation and its people are vividly depicted in “Guard of the Dead.” This novel serves as a poignant reminder of war’s human toll, focusing on the often-ignored individual stories amidst historical and political strife.

Through Aber’s experiences, “Guard of the Dead” exposes the war’s devastating effects, not just in physical ruin but also in its capacity to break the human spirit. Yaraq’s work is not only compelling but also thought-provoking, offering a unique lens on the Lebanese civil war and its lasting effects.

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