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Maalouf, Amin

century leo follows

Maalouf, Amin

(Lebanese, 1949– )

Maalouf was born in Beirut, and has lived in Paris since 1976. Begin with Leo the African (1986). Maalouf characteristically fuses history and a richly exotic imagination in this expansive account of Leo Africanus, the sixteenth-century chronicler of Africa. Samarkand (1988) follows the fortunes of the manuscript of Omar Khayyám's rubáiyát, which is ultimately lost aboard the Titanic. The First Century after Beatrice (1992) ends with the aged narrator in Switzerland in retreat from the consequences of what he has foreseen—a world facing a gender crisis resulting from the availability of a drug that ensures male children. Set in the Middle East during nineteenth-century power-struggles within the Ottoman Empire, The Rock of Tanios (1993) follows the wanderings of a sheik's illegitimate son. Afflicted by his family's guilt and the alienating political climate, he disappears mysteriously in Cyprus.

James Clavel, Umberto Eco, Lawrence Norfolk  DH

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