The Silence and the Roar

by Nihad Sirees

Translated by Max Weiss

Published by Pushkin Press

Fathi, a writer no longer permitted to write, makes his way through a city churned by parades for an unnamed dictator. It is a day stifled by heat and the noise of the chants, a day of people trampled, and of the brutality and bullying of the party faithful. But Fathi presses treacherously against the crowd, attempting just to visit his mother and his girlfriend.

The Silence and the Roar is a personal, urgent, funny and aggrieved novel. It asks what it means to have a conscience, or to laugh, or to endure in a time of the violence, strangeness and roar of tyranny. It is both a true literary achievement and an act of real courage by a brilliant Syrian writer.


PP photo Nihad SireesNihad Sirees is a civil engineer who lives in Aleppo. His novels include Cancer, The North Winds, A Case of Passion, and Noise and Silence. Of his many television dramas the most widely acclaimed, Silk Market, set in Aleppo during the political turmoil of the 1950s, was shown throughout the Middle East, in Germany and in Australia. His latest series, Al Khait Al Abiadh (‘The First Gleam of Dawn’), provides a frank depiction of the country’s government-controlled media. After increasing surveillance and pressure from the Syrian government, Nihad Sirees left Syria in 2012. He is currently at Brown University in the US on an International Writers Fellowship until the end of February 2013.

Max Weiss  is Assistant Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, specializing in the social, cultural, and intellectual history of the modern Middle East. After receiving his Ph.D. in History from Stanford in 2007, he held a postdoctoral fellowship in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton (2007-08) and was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows (2008-10, 2011-12). Weiss is the author of In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Law, Shiʿism and the Making of Modern Lebanon (Harvard University Press, 2010), and the translator, most recently, of Hassouna Mosbahi, A Tunisian Tale (American University in Cairo Press).

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