The City of Salt and Ivory

Khaled Naim

manuscript in English Literary Fiction

A brilliant debut that explores the pains of love and loss, set against the rubble of the Lebanese Civil War.

Ziad Bitar has a blessing and a curse—he suffers from hyperthymesia, total recall. Ziad remembers everything: every breakfast he’s ever had, all the numbers in his mother’s phone book, each pang of adolescent longing.

For as long as he’s been alive, he’s struggled with how to manage his “condition”. As the years pass and bombs fall across Beirut, Ziad’s perfect memory becomes both refuge and labyrinth, the site of his romance with his wife Samar—and possibly the cause of its downfall. Ziad’s relationship to truth is as conflicted as his country’s, and a perfect record is only as good as its keeper.

Engrossing and deeply perceptive, layering truth and uncertainty as Ishiguro does at his most moving, The City of Salt and Ivory weaves the threads of memory, love, and war to create a world that is at once intimate and universal, heartbreaking and full of hope.