The story of a Lebanese murder case set against the backdrop of sectarian animosity from an award-winning author
The story of a Lebanese murder case set against the backdrop of sectarian animosity Shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction
In mysterious circumstances, the body of Zakaria Mubarak is found in an orchard on the outskirts of his village of Tel Safra in northern Lebanon. He had just returned from a long exile in Europe, the US, and Africa, carrying with him a painting by Marc Chagall, the “Blue Violinist,” a gift from his girlfriend in Paris. Suspicion falls on the cousins, who may have killed him to get their hands on a treasure supposedly buried underneath the house built by their grandmother when she returned from America.
As investigator Abu Khalid wrestles with conflicting evidence surrounding Zakaria’s death, he is drawn into a picture of the victim’s life, one that recalls fables of gold, sibling strife, the love of French women, false promises of revolution, and the corruption and sectarian enmities that have plagued their homeland.
A riveting meditation on the riddle of a crime, Paula Haydar’s eloquent translation pays fitting homage to a compassionate, guiding light of Lebanese fiction.
About the Author
Jabbour Douaihy was born in Zgharta, northern Lebanon, in 1949. He holds a PhD degree in Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne and worked as Professor of French Literature at the Lebanese University. To date, he has published eight award-winning works of fiction.
Paula Haydar teaches at the University of Arkansas and has translated novels by Elias Khoury, Rachid al-Daif, Jabbour Douaihy, Sahar Khalifeh and others.
“Douaihy illuminates Lebanon’s tumultuous recent history in brief … readers will be both enlightened and charmed.” — Publishers Weekly on "Printed in Beirut"
Douaihy’s masterpiece … A powerful portrait of identity and division in Lebanon.” — The New Arab on "June Rain"
“This novel is Douaihy’s most accomplished, subtle, and captivating.” — Livres Hebdo on "The American Quarter"
“A prodigal son comes home in the wake of tragedy in Jabbour Douaihy’s compelling novel The King of India … In the literary novel, a family’s enduring connection to their homeland is traced.” — Foreword Magazine
“The best international crime fiction … this one takes place in Lebanon, where a newly returned prodigal son is found murdered. Did his cousins kill him to rob him of a valuable painting, or is the answer more complicated? The investigator assigned to the case is not so sure and perhaps more interested in solving the riddle of the murdered man’s life than the mystery of his death. Moody, poetic, and intellectual, The King of India is the perfect introspective read ….” — CrimeReads
“I’m a big fan of the ‘someone comes to town/someone leaves town’ descriptor for many a storyline, and Jabbour Douaihy’s The King of India accomplishes the impressive feat of incorporating both into its very first chapter. And in Paula Haydar’s translation, the language is evocative, from the opening sentence—‘Zakaria Bin Ibrahim Mubarak came back at the start of summer, just as the cherries and goat cheese were coming into season’—onward. Zakaria’s death ends that chapter, and the mysteries contained in this novel are set in motion.” — Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders