BookBrowse Reviews The Book Collectors by Delphine Minoui

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The Book Collectors

A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War

by Delphine Minoui

The Book Collectors by Delphine  Minoui X
The Book Collectors by Delphine  Minoui
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  • Published:
    Nov 2020, 208 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Ian Muehlenhaus
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A journalist recounts her experience coming to know a group of men running a clandestine underground library in a Syrian suburb under siege.

About halfway through The Book Collectors, I was disappointed. I came into the book with a preconceived notion that this was going to be a life-and-death story about a library. A Schindler's List, of sorts, about saving books in war-torn Syria. Yet, I felt it was missing the mark.

It was not the quality of writing or storytelling that was letting me down. Delphine Minoui is an amazing writer, and the book benefits from a fantastic, stilt-free translation from the French by Lara Vergnaud. The author intersperses her interviews with the protagonists — who were stockpiling a library of books from bombed-out houses in, Daraya, a suburb of Damascus — with a local history of the conflict and tales of avoiding barrel bombs (explosive and shrapnel laden barrels rolled out of helicopters by the Syrian military in attacks against civilians). Minoui is careful not to dramatize ...

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