Stronger Than Blood

Stronger Than Blood
(working title)
عصي الدم
(Asiyy al damm)

Written by

(منهل السراج)

Published by


History overwhelms an ordinary family

The novel is divided into three parts: 

The first depicts the life of an ordinary family (parents, five daughters and one son) in Hama during the 1970s. Among the characters, the father Fu’ad and the eldest daughter Fidah stand out as protagonists: the first a positive and solid pillar of the family, the second, a scapegoat who sacrifices her own happiness for others.

The second part is a vivid description of the Hama massacre, based on real events. On February 2, 1982, the army led by Rif‘at al-Assad besieged the city, which had risen against the regime of his brother Hafez, president of Syria. The siege and bombardment lasted 27 days, resulting in a third of the city being destroyed and the number of victims estimated between 10,000 and 40,000.

In the third part we follow the difficulty of the family members to (re)build a life – at home or abroad – after the trauma, with an interesting outlook on the West.

Approximate number of pages: 342 p.

Foreign rights: contact the publisher


Translation samples

Reasons to publish this book

The novel is a realistic description of Syrian society during the years of Hafez al-Assad’s dictatorship, offering a lucid and detailed testimony of the Hama massacre, a crucial event in the recent history of the country. The external gaze on the West is also interesting, which Sarraj offers to European readers as an indictment as well as a strong statement of her own identity and culture.


Each cry from Syria is for you by Penopp, July 2012

Manhal Alsarraj (Sarraj) by Banipal
Reviewed by Elisabetta Bartuli