The Soothsayer

The Soothsayer
(working title)
(Al arrafa)

Written by

(أحمد علي الزين)

Published by


The reminiscences of a Lebanese intellectual haunted by the loss of his two lovers

Suhail Al-Attar is haunted by the loss of two women. Selma, his ex-wife, killed by a sniper during the Lebanese Civil War, and Nahla, his clairvoyant, with whom he falls in love during the second chapter of his life, and who suddenly vanishes. Hospitalised for an unspecified illness, Suhail recalls stories of modern Lebanon that are both tragic and humorous. The narrative is intertwined with his grandmother’s songs, the scales practised by the violin player across the street, and his own singing and oud-playing. Music flows throughout the novel linking together Suhail’s memories and “helping the living to sort out their lives”, as Selma says.

Approximate number of pages: 223 p.

Foreign rights: contact the publisher


Translation samples

Reasons to publish this book

Ahmad Ali El Zein is one of the great names of Lebanese literature. His book is composed of a rich narrative full of colourful characters and provides some insights into the effects of conflict on the human psyche. The Soothsayer will be particularly appealing to European readers eager to dive into the complex situation of contemporary Lebanon.


Quand l’Orient se libère par l’écriture… (in French) by L’Orient-le-Jour, August 2022