One Day in April
by El Hage, Jad
Beirut, April 13th 1977… Exactly two years into the infamous civil war, Armenian photographer ‘Koko’ Krikorian is given an unusual assignment: meet up with freelance journalist Nader bin Nadeer in a remote Bekaa Valley village, to cover a conciliatory wedding aimed at ending a vendetta between warring tribes. However, Nadar – a brilliant but maverick writer – is Koko’s arch enemy. Not only is he impossible to work with, he’s also the man who stole Koko’s girlfriend, the beautiful and enigmatic painter Najla. As Koko drives to the Bekaa, he reflects on the past entanglements of this tormented trio, on Beirut’s fading glory, and on the destruction of its famed artistic and intellectual life. When he arrives, more surprises await him. The desperados aren’t what they seem, there are rumours of a witch in the vicinity – and a novel idea for ending the civil war is being hatched. This rich portrait of Lebanon’s cultural elite completes Jad El Hage’s informal civil war trilogy and confirms the author’s position as one of Lebanon’s finest contemporary writers.