The Lebanese Troubles

Adult
Rated 4.83/5 based on 8 reviews
Life in this beautiful old city offered everything. Mediterranean sun just two hours away from mountain snow. Exciting new friends - a madcap American journalist and his exotic Palestinian girlfriend. For newcomers to Beirut, Richard and Claire Devine, there was no telling where the world ended and heaven began. Until fighting broke out in the suburbs - but surely that was somebody else's war.. More

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Published by Rapscallion
Words: 82,290
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452337098
About Alain Miles

I've spent much of my career in the Mid-East, where I worked as an HR consultant and successfully self-published and marketed business software. These days, back in the UK, I'm interested in battling unemployment, and I set up small businesses to show others how they can do the same.

Smashwords is an important publishing platform for my creative writing - because it allows me to retain total control over what I publish and what I charge for my work. I'm not planning to release print versions of the work published here.

My latest commercial venture combines my business and creative interests. I'm publishing other people's poetry - specifically 'words of inspiration' - as wall-art. Find out more at http://www.coloringthewind.com

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Reviews

Review by: Anne-Marie Keyworth on June 03, 2011 :
A very good read...and I have learnt something.
I sense both a numbness and fierce energy in the story, which carried me so enjoyably through in two reading sessions. Very well written. A gripping read.

More, please.
A-M Keyworth
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Paul Story on Sep. 08, 2010 :
What a marvelous read. The title is unfortunate (imho) because - although clever and apposite - it sends out the wrong emotional signals. I agree with the other reviewers that the backdrop lifts this engaging drama to another level, but the subtleties of the title are only evident after reading the book. I harp on about this only because I want readers to find this novel and share with me the joy of reading it. I look forward to the next book by this author and will buy it immediately without downloading a sample and no matter what he decides to call it!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: mindlesswold on May 05, 2010 : (no rating)
Good. Engaging.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: David Hunter on April 12, 2010 :
This is a carefully crafted book that surprised me by avoiding much of the subtle 'formula' that afflicts too much of contemporary literary fiction. Elements of that formula are present of course: a rather pathetic central character (Richard) who is a prisoner of events, for instance. But Miles doesn't overdo introspection. In fact it's quite refreshing how little agonising and self-analysis Richard undergoes. He mopes and sulks but in an entirely authentic way. He doesn't often think things through, he just wallows in self-pity. And when he does think about his situation, it's in a very self-centred way - everyone to blame but him.

And all the characters, who we see filtered through Richard's rather niaf eye are well drawn and entirely believable. My favourites are the sophisticated Lebanese businessman who runs rings round the hapless westerners and Richard's long-suffering wife, who remains something of a puzzle. Is she in fact as irritating as she comes across at times, or does Richard's filtering eye taint and twist her portrayal?

It's a book that starts with hints of wife-swapping and expatriate decadence, then turns into a worm's eye (Richard of course being the worm) view of a country sliding into civil war (and naturally that mirrors Richards own slide into turpitude, but that's part of the literary formula, but done well enough not to be intrusive. Too often such things just reek of the author's cleverness. Not here). And then there's a hint of the spy-thriller, an unexpected twist that caught me slightly by surprise but with a very appropriate resolution, quiet in keeping with the realism of the novel. The fourth part sees almost a complete change of tone, a desert journey where perhaps Richard achieves some sort of epiphany and leads naturally into the end where there are resolutions like those of real lives, no trite wrappings up here.

What really makes this book stand out, well above the mass of competent literary character studies, is the Lebanese background, which is simply wonderfully done, from the mountain idylls through the city grime to the decadence of the casinos and the variety of Lebanese characters encountered. A perfect snapshot of what living in Lebanon at the time must have felt like.

It's a book to read twice (at least). And one to savour.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Louise Saville on April 08, 2010 :
The Lebanese Troubles is a thoroughly engaging book. It takes an eye-opening look at life and society in Lebanon during the 70’s. Alain Miles' knowledge and experience of living in Lebanon really shines through this story in living colour. It’s a view of the civil war that is new to me, and was quite shocking, and I have been enriched by being immersed in this period of history. He has an amazing talent of bringing the characters to life, with vivid, and at times tantalizing detail, and making me feel the fear of war, with bombs flying overhead, just outside the door. The book is a rollercoaster ride of emotions, real life characters, and scenes that I feel I have lived myself. There’s the high tension of war to the grittier side of relationship breakdowns, so that the war runs parrallel to the lives of the characters.
It has marvelous unforgettable characters, and with a beautiful unique writing voice, this has been one of the best books I’ve read.

I highly recommend this book! and wish I could do this outstanding literary piece more justice in this review.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: sara basrai on April 07, 2010 :
The Lebanese Troubles is a bold novel, rich and innovative in its execution. Alain is economic in his prose. Each words counts as he brings alive a world through the eyes of his main protagonist, Richard. It is clear that the relative prosperity and security of the Lebanon, set between Mediterranean and Arab cultures, is under threat and on the brink of civil war. Richard, too, is on the brink of change, a young man trapped by convention, but as yet unable to define his new identity. The religious and ethnic diversity and turmoil of the Lebanon is reflected in Alain’s characters.

I can’t recommend this novel enough, or the intelligence and ingenuity of its author, whom I have the pleasure of working with on TNBW. Alain is always willing to share and trade ideas, and is passionate about the art of drafting well-written, transcendent stories.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Sue Hall on April 02, 2010 :
Richard Devine, a reserved Brit who goes to Beirut to teach English, accompanied by wife Claire, make friends with American reporter Lawrence Anderson and his alluring and intriguing Palestinian girlfriend, Monique. But as the four of them meet up for dinner, the first shots in the Lebanese civil war are fired. Richard falls increasingly under the spell of Lawrence, a man who revels in the outrageous and the absurd, and begins to doubt his own direction in life as a staid teacher. Feeling trapped and fearful as the war begins to impinge on their lives, Richard and Claire are seduced into moving in with Lawrence and Monique by Lawrence’s offers of protection and safety; but ultimately they begin to feel like prisoners. Richard is tempted and confused by his attraction to Monique and barely notices the mutual attraction developing between Claire and Lawrence, until it is glaringly brought to his attention.

The Lebanese Troubles is a smartly written tale of intrigue and betrayal, told through the sometimes hapless-seeming main character who is portrayed by author, Alain Miles, with just the right trace of sardonic humor. The author draws heavily on his extensive experience living in the Middle East to bring each scene in the book vividly to life, with detailed and authentic descriptions of both Lebanon and its people that kept me fully engaged. He effectively uses the subject of war as a metaphor to explore the theme of disintegration of intimate relationships, and the reader is left contemplating the nature of loyalty and trust in everyday life. This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys a fast-paced yet nuanced story of shattered relationships in an absorbing foreign setting of historical importance. I recommend it highly!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Verity Farrell on March 31, 2010 : (no rating)
Hi ,loved Lebanes Troubles. You manage to take something quite scary and real and lace it with enough british 'stiff upper lip' aloofness and humour to give it a compassionate edge. I felt drawn in to the debate of war and religion without having an opinion rammed down my throat, but i also felt drawn to the person lives and predicaments of four very real characters. However different their lives seemed to be on the outside they became totally infused in each other to the point that lines were crossed on so many levels. We never quite get to the bottom of their friendship, or breakdown of it but all the pointers and clues are left in every chapter for you to allow your mind to elaborate on each encounter.
the Main character is annoying and stupid, and very rarely makes the right choices, so in a away he is an anti-hero which makes a refreshing change because he is indeed a hero in some way. He makes bad choices but stands by them, allowing others to influence him, which could have been his final down fall.
Great stuff and good luck.
V x x x
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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