So you may have noticed its been a long time (in Kirsten terms) since I posted a book review.

That’s because The Hakawati kicked my tooshy.

This book, a set of interwoven tales centering on a Lebanese Beirut family whose son returns when his father lies dying, is not one you can just skim right through. Each layer of story (and there are Islamic kings, warriors, heroes, and djinni, and luscious doves) is like a layering of detail, although there’s never an obvious and parallel connection between the themes of honor, betrayal, love, duty, and family and religion, the tales do interact with each other and enrich each other.

Those of you who enjoyed Catherynn Valente’s The Orphan’s Tale, or other complex narratives would enjoy this one. Or David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas , although it isn’t exactly like either one.

I liked it for the historical narrative embedded inside, and I feel that I come away with a better understanding of the cultural heritage in that strife-torn area, if not a better historical one.

Very Recommended, but only if you’re in the mood for thick, rich stories dripping with pungent meaning.