Robin Yassin-Kassab (a published student)
June 2008
Hamish Hamilton

About the publication

It is summer 2001 and Sami Traifi is struggling. His PhD seems to be slipping ever further from his grasp, and a recent trip home to Damascus has thrown up some disturbing family secrets. On top of all this, his wife Muntaha has just announced that she is taking up the hijab, at a time when he couldn't feel more distant from faith, religion, and from having any answers for any of the big questions.

Furious with Muntaha, he finds himself embarking on a spontaneous quest for meaning and fulfillment, but all too soon his search spirals into a hedonistic rampage and threatens to destroy everything that he has...


A novel so packed with ideas it threatens at times to explode... One of the author's gifts, and he has many, is to give us characters, who, even at their most wilfully one-dimensional, are believable and, at times, funny.


A fantastically enjoyable, wise and intelligent novel that grows in the telling and should cause the most feted of literary stars to sit up and take notice.

Big Issue

A rambunctious and daring novel, with scattered comedy amid the drama.