Charif Majdalani

Spring 2017

Charif Majdalani, born in Lebanon in 1960, is often compared to a Lebanese Proust. Majdalani lived in France from 1980 to 1993 and now teaches French literature at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut. The original French version of his novel Moving the Palace won the 2008 François Mauriac Prize from the Académie Française as well as the Prix Tropiques.

Selected Bibliography

-Petit traité des mélanges : du métissage culturel considéré comme un des beaux-arts, Éditions Layali, 2002.
-Histoire de la Grande Maison, roman, Éditions du Seuil, 2005
-Caravanserail, Éditions du Seuil, 2007 (prix Tropiques 2008, prix François Mauriac de l'Académie française); Moving The Palace, New Vessel Press, 2017 (translated by Edward Gauvin)
-Nos si brèves années de gloire, Éditions du Seuil, 2012
-Le Dernier Seigneur de Marsad, roman, Éditions du Seuil, 2013|
-Villa des femmes, roman, Éditions du Seuil, 2015 (prix Jean-Giono 2015)

About Moving the Palace

(New Vessel Press, 2017, Translated by Edward Gauvin)

At the dawn of the 20th century, a young Lebanese adventurer leaves the Levant to explore the wilds of Africa, encountering an eccentric English colonel in Sudan and enlisting in his service. In this lush chronicle of far-flung adventure, the military recruit crosses paths with a compatriot who has dismantled a sumptuous palace in Tripoli and is transporting it across the continent on a camel caravan. The protagonist soon takes charge of this hoard of architectural fragments, ferrying the dismantled landmark through Sudan, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula, attempting to return to his native Beirut with this moveable real estate. Along the way, he encounters skeptic sheikhs, suspicious tribal leaders, bountiful feasts, pilgrims bound for Mecca and T.E. Lawrence in a tent. This is a captivating modern-day Odyssey in the tradition of Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux.


“The reader remains captivated long after having completed this epic and comic novel that allows one to perceive in the ineffable silence of the desert the attachment of a man to his homeland.” Le Monde

“In language of extreme classicism—he is often compared to a Lebanese Proust—Majdalani imposes his rhythm, slow and mesmerizing, to bring us in step with his story … Throughout this epic tale he intimately weaves together the grand history of his country and his family, mixing fiction and reality in language of infinite sensuality.”L’Express

Tour Program

Spring 2017