The King of India

Publishing House: Interlink Books

Publication Year: 2022

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 220

“The King of India” presents a gripping narrative centered around a Lebanese murder investigation, set against the backdrop of sectarian tensions, earning it a spot on the shortlist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

The discovery of Zakaria Mubarak’s corpse under puzzling conditions in an orchard on the outskirts of his village, Tel Safra, in northern Lebanon, sets the stage for a complex tale. Recently returned from extensive travels through Europe, the United States, and Africa, Zakaria carries with him a Marc Chagall painting, “The Blue Violinist,” a sentimental keepsake from his Parisian lover. He accuses his cousins outright, believing they murdered him to seize a rumored treasure thought to be buried beneath the family estate, constructed by their American-returned grandmother.

Inspector Abu Khalid becomes entangled in a web of contradictory clues as he delves into the enigmatic circumstances of Zakaria’s demise. The unfolding story “The King of India” reveals a complex tapestry of familial rivalries, mythical tales of gold, romantic entanglements with French women, illusory revolutionary pledges, and the endemic corruption and sectarian discord that have plagued their homeland.

Paula Haydar’s skillful translation serves as a fitting tribute to this multifaceted tale, solidifying its position as a seminal work in the canon of Lebanese fiction. As readers navigate through the intricacies of the investigation, meanwhile, the narrative becomes a compelling exploration of not only a murder mystery but also the intricate layers of Lebanese society.

The novel’s thematic richness, combined with Haydar’s translation expertise, elevates it to a literary gem, providing readers with a nuanced and captivating glimpse into the complexities of familial, cultural, and historical dynamics in Lebanon.

Read More About Jabbour Douaihy

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