Jason Goodwin

Memory Maps

Origins: A Memoir


Picador 416pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Having read and much enjoyed some of this Lebanese writer’s historical novels (among them Leo the African and The Rock of Tanios), which meditate subtly and provokingly on, among other things, the fluidity of national identity and the past, I looked forward to reading this memoir. I didn’t mind that it was long. I read it on trains. I read it in gardens. In Origins, Maalouf puts his novelistic themes into practice, tracing incongruence and cultural overlap within the confines of his own family history. Here are a people rooted to the village, who blithely set up shop in Havana; Orthodox priests whose children become Presbyterian schoolmasters; progressives, walking around in the 1900s without a hat, let alone a fez, who hope the French mandate will result in égalité and liberté; Freemasons and Young Ottomans.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,