`We are, and always will be, wanderers who have lost their way . . .' When a trunk of family letters gives Amin Maalouf the opportunity to trace his past, he finds himself - having never before asked questions - transfixed by the stories of his ancestors. Starting in the mountains of Lebanon and taking him across the sea to Havana, his history is one of restlessness and exile: of the search for identity, of dramatic emigrations, and of revolutions espoused in the dying years of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. The result is an exquisite memoir, a book that finds drama in the most personal of tales, pathos in the grandest of gestures, and an understanding that the most nomadic of families can also epitomize home. `Origins is many things: an introduction to Lebanon's complex history, the end of Ottoman Empire through Arab eyes, and an intimate account of diasporic identity. Exquisitely tempered' Independent `Maalouf's far-seeing and hospitable worldview is presided over, like that of his grandfather, by "the angel of reason", and in Origins he tells a story he has painstakingly salvaged just in time' Daily Telegraph `Maalouf has a novelist's ear for language and an historian's eye for detail: they have combined to create a masterpiece which can only help to further understanding of our complicated times' Tablet
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