Moving the Palace

Written by Charif Majdalani | Translated by Edward Gauvin
New Vessel Press | April 2017

At the dawn of the 20th century, a young Lebanese explorer leaves the Levant for 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.

Moving the Palace won the 2008 François Mauriac Prize from the Académie Française as well as the Prix Tropiques.

Charif Majdalani, born in Lebanon in 1960, is one of the most important names in Lebanese literature today. 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.

Edward Gauvin has received prizes and fellowships including those awarded by PEN America, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright program. His work has won the John Dryden Translation Prize and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award. He has translated over 200 graphic novels.

Publisher's website


REVIEWS

“Charif Majdalani has a ripping yarn to tell and tells it with a raconteur’s bravura. Transporting, wholly engaging, deeply moving. This book is why I travel and why I read.”— Andrew McCarthy, award-winning director and actor and author of Just Fly Away and The Longest Way Home

Moving the Palace is an eloquent, captivating excursion through a Middle East history that is more relevant today than ever. Majdalani is a major storyteller and a novelist with conscience who writes the past with transnational awareness.”— Rawi Hage, author of De Niro’s Game and Cockroach

 

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