No One Prayed Over Their Graves

No One Prayed Over Their Graves

Publishing House: Straus and Giroux

Publication Year: 2023

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 416

In – No One Prayed Over Their Graves – Khaled Khalifa’s evocative narrative, a finalist for the National Book Award, the fates of two lifelong friends, Hanna and Zakariya, are forever altered by a catastrophic flood in 1907 that wipes out their village near Aleppo.

Returning from a night of revelry, they find their community annihilated—homes, businesses, and sacred places obliterated; family members and friends gone.

Once a wealthy hedonistic landowner, Hanna had built a citadel dedicated to indulgence. The flood, however, irrevocably changes him. He loses his home, his spouse, and his community, leading him to turn into a spiritual ascetic, consumed by existential questions. “No One Prayed Over Their Graves” spans Hanna’s life both before and after the disaster, weaving a multi-faceted narrative that becomes a strand in Aleppo’s intricate societal fabric.

Khalifa masterfully portrays a society at the cusp of transformation, transitioning from a provincial village into a burgeoning metropolis at the dawn of the 20th century. The story encapsulates the coexistence of Christians, Muslims, and Jews, unified by their collective love for Aleppo and aspirations for a better future.

The novel delves into the intricate connections between personal and collective destinies, portraying how the flood’s aftermath reshapes not only the lives of Hanna and Zakariya but also the larger societal tapestry of Aleppo. Through Khalifa’s vivid prose, readers witness the evolving landscape of the city, where the remnants of the past intertwine with the burgeoning aspirations of a changing era.

“No One Prayed Over Their Graves” becomes a testament to the enduring spirit of Aleppo, reflecting the resilience and adaptability of its people. In chronicling the lives of Hanna and Zakariya, Khalifa crafts a narrative that transcends individual stories, becoming a compelling portrayal of a community navigating the currents of time and transformation.

Read More About Khaled Khalifa

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