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Beyond Shattered Glass

Voices from the Aftermath of the Beirut Explosion

Edited by RL Attieh and Nadia Tabbara / Foreword by Rawi Hage / Introduction by Zeina Saab
Published by Interlink Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

True stories of survival, strength, and solidarity

On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion in the Beirut port decimated much of the capital city. The notoriously corrupt and criminally negligent Lebanese government was nowhere to be found. Instead, ordinary people were forced to fend for themselves in extraordinary situations.

They took on the monumental cleanup effort on ground zero. They set up makeshift online resources to find loved ones in hospitals that were overwhelmed. They pulled strangers out of the rubble, regardless of their religion or ethnicity. They set up mental health lines, launched missing persons platforms. They took care of neighbors and comforted one another through tragic losses.

This book is an anthology of creative nonfiction that chronicles their real stories as told by the writers who interviewed them. More than individual accounts, these stories are the product of a collective writing process to archive history and continue to resist injustice.

100% of the royalties will be donated to support victims of the explosion.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Interlink Books (August 22, 2023)
  • Length: 198 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781623717476

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Raves and Reviews

“This collection is a document that refuses the idea of collateral damage … [It] is filled with humanity, laden with stories of love, tragic loss, days of survival, and death … Beyond Shattered Glass is ultimately a work of altruism and resistance. It is a record of values, and a collection of memories, which stand against the immorality of power and imposed oblivion … But these accounts by witnesses are another kind of remembrance and transformation. The words give voice to traces which are not made of stones, but of lasting voices of love and condemnation.”

– Rawi Hage, author of Beirut Hellfire Society and De Niro’s Game

“Great tragedies in history often generate one epic moment that fully encapsulates the pain, the rage, and the absurdity of it all. The Beirut explosion was, undoubtedly, such an event. Decades of war and destruction, so many lives broken and wasted, a nation humiliated and plundered by those who were supposed to protect it. And suddenly, in a single blast, everything is shattered, everything is exposed, everything is revealed. On that fateful day in August, the authors of this book obviously suffered; they wept; they tried to comfort their loved ones; then they wiped their tears and began to write. Their testimony is powerful, as literature can be powerful when it discards all that is futile to focus on what is humanly essential.”

– Amin Maalouf, author of Samarkand and The Gardens of Light

"This prismatic, gripping book is unforgettable. Its writers offer truth, love, and action in place of untruths and impunity. Out of so many fragments, through so many entangled lives, these memories create another kind of city, a place where belonging and dignity are offered, held, and lived."

– Madeleine Thien, novelist and short story writer

"These stories of shattered glass, of shredded hopes, and of sacrificial love are the voices of the voiceless. They are brought to you here as a sacred offering to keep their memories alive.”

– —Zena Wakim, international lawyer, and Jayce Salloum, artist and filmmaker

Beyond Shattered Glass is a collection of necessary voices that unflinchingly show us what it's like to be broken and human in the aftermath of one of modern history's most devastating explosions. It's a love letter by and for the survivors and the grief-stricken, the inhabitants of a harsh, beloved, wounding, and wounded city.”

– Zeina Hashem Beck, author of O and Louder than Hearts

“It is insufficient to describe the stories in Beyond Shattered Glass as heartbreaking or tragic. These powerful, intimate acts of witness to the Beirut explosion are much more than that. Detailed and unflinching, they are an indictment of government incompetence and corruption, as well as a centering of those who paid an incalculable price for it. What emerges is a portrait of modern Lebanon in all its beauty and brokenness, a kaleidoscope of life on either side of calamity. This is morally and historically vital work.”

– Omar El Akkad, novelist and journalist

“An urgent and unique document which provides a complex tapestry of humanity pushed to extremes. This event shows the best and worst in our collective condition, and this book is a beautiful account of these unforgettable journeys.”

– Atom Egoyan, film director

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