The Silence and the Roar
Author: Nihad Sirees
Translator: Max Weiss
Original language: Arabic
Published by: Pushkin Press, 2013
With The Silence and the Roar, Nihad Sirees writes a powerful, life-affirming and Kafkaesque novel about a censored writer trying to live a normal life under a Middle Eastern dictatorship, Syria.
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.
'Sirees’s vision of tyranny, superlatively translated, is distinctive enough to be ranked with Orwell, Huxley or Marquez’s.'