Penguin’s Song, the

by Hassan Daoud

As war wreaks havoc on the historic heart of Beirut, tenants of the old city are pushed to the margins and obliged to live on the surrounding hillsides, where it seems they will stay forever, waiting, as the dream of return becomes a way of life.

“The Penguin” is a physically deformed young man who lives with his aging mother and father in one of the “temporary” buildings. His father spends his days on the balcony of their apartment, looking at the far-off city and pining for the shop he was forced to leave behind. Mother and father both find their purpose in worrying about the future for their son, while he spends his time surrounded by old books,living in an erotic fantasy world centered on an adolescent girl who lives in the apartment below.