Author: Fadi Azzam

Publishing House: Interlink Books

Publication Year: 2011

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 192

Fadi Azzam’s debut novel, “Sarmada,” creatively named after a fictional place symbolizing “eternity” in Arabic, pioneers a narrative with women at its core. This innovative title, using a newly minted Arabic word with feminine connotations, spans generations from Syria to Paris and back. Set in the Druze area, the novel is a tribute to religious harmony and coexistence.

“Sarmada” masterfully blends various elements – myths, politics, love, and women’s experiences – marking it as an extraordinary first novel. Azzam’s narrative style, both direct and fiery, mirrors his poetic flair, making the novel a profound literary experience.

The story revolves around Ravi Azmi, a documentary filmmaker who meets Azza Tawfiq, a Sorbonne physics professor, in Paris. Azza believes she had a past life in Sarmada and shares her tragic story with Ravi. Her vivid details of Sarmada intrigue him, leading to his exploration of the town.

Returning home, Ravi discovers Sarmada’s hidden wonders and complexities. Azzam skillfully mixes folklore with modern narrative techniques, creating a dramatic and coherent story.

“Sarmada” is written in a poetic yet accessible language, focusing on the central narrative. Written a year earlier, the novel also reflects on recent events in Syria.

Syrian journalist and writer Fadi Azzam, a Damascus University Arabic studies graduate, now lives in the UAE. His first novel, “Sarmada,” has been translated into English, and his early short story collection, “Thahtaniat,” was released in March 2010. Both works showcase his deep connection to his cultural roots and contemporary issues.

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