Abu Dhabi Book Fair 2017: Lebanese writer Abbas Beydoun on his award-winning novel The Autumn of Innocence

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By Saeed Saeed

Abbas Beydoun is tired of excuses. The 72-year-old Lebanese author and poet urges readers and writers to avoid complacency – and to always look beyond the surface.

To explain why, he highlights the central theme of his acclaimed novel, The Autumn of Innocence, which tackles the nature of tyranny.

“It’s not good enough to look at violence as just something abnormal or new to us,” he says.

“Violence doesn’t just fall from the sky. It comes from our ethics and our behaviours. It comes from ourselves and we have to be aware of that.”

Published last year by Beirut publisher Dar Al Saqi, the novel struck a chord with Arab readers and won the literature category of the Sheikh Zayed Book Awards. Beydoun received his award, including a cash prize of Dh750,000, during a ceremony at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair yesterday.

Set in an Arab village, The Autumn of Innocence revolves around the relationship between a domineering father and his easy-going son. Dismayed by his son’s intransigence, the father arranges his murder.

Beydoun describes the novel’s surreal narrative style as “fantasia” – pronouns shift rapidly and the work is laced with symbolic names and imagery. The lyrical aspect of the novel stems from his poetry, for which he is arguably more renowned. Read more
Source: The National
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