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Michele Henjum

Khalil Sweileh: from Barbarians' Paradise

[Cover of Khalil Sweileh's Jannat al-barabira by Dar Alain]

[The following excerpts are from Khalil Sweileh’s Barbarian’s Paradise (Jannat al-barabira) (Cairo: Dar Al-‘Ayn, 2014). The book is structured as a journal chronicling life in Damascus; the entries start in April 2012 and end in December 2013. The narrator moves through Damascus, both present day and past, describing scenes of daily life, both the mundane and the newsworthy, cataloguing the destruction and suffering of the country and its people, and recording the evolution ...

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Michele Henjum is a freelance translator living in Cairo. She has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from CUNY Graduate Center and is cofounder of the web-project CairoBookStop. She can be contacted at