No Road to Paradise

Hassan Daoud
Translated by Marilyn Booth


In a small Lebanese village a disillusioned imam, diagnosed with terminal cancer, must face his demons. Having consented to an arranged marriage, he has found himself in a loveless union and lusts after another. To please his family, he took up the robe and turban of his forefathers but the expected path to fulfillment did not unfold before him.

Meticulous, sparse prose quietly evokes the essence of rural life and the burden of tradition. Hassan Daoud’s masterful novel plumbs the depths of a man’s struggle with religion and his place in the world.


"I personally found it one of the most powerful and impressive Arabic works that I have read in a long time, well deserving of the Naguib Mahfouz medal that it has already won."
—Paul Starkey, Banipal

“The work’s insights are Proustian in their precision. . . . The lucid, calm, uncluttered style gives the book a unique voice.”
—Humphrey Davies, translator of The Yacoubian Building

“Hassan Daoud is one of Lebanon’s most important living writers.”
—Max Weiss, Princeton University

“A unique novel par excellence.”
—Rasheed El-Enany, Exeter University

"Calm and introspective, Hassan Daoud's masterful novel probes the inner workings of a man of religion struggling with his place in society."
—Marcia Lynx Qualey, Arabic Literature (in English) Blog

“The apparent inertia of No Road to Paradise . . . bristles with the desperation, hope and unhappiness of ordinary human life. . . . Daoud has an obsessive fascination with the difficulties of human connections, including the connection with our internal "I." . . . There are no great joys or sorrows in No Road to Paradise, nor are we allowed any deep intimacies. Instead, there are the beautiful details of trying to get comfortable on a hospital bed, or communicating with your children, or the hardest struggle of all: to know one’s own mind.”
—The National



Hassan Daoud

Hassan Daoud, born in Beirut in 1950, holds a master’s degree in Arabic literature and has taught creative writing at the Lebanese American University. He is the editorial director of al-Mudun news website and is on the editorial board of the quarterly magazine Kalamon. He is the author of three short story collections and ten novels. No Road to Paradise was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 2015.

Marilyn Booth has translated works by Hoda Barakat, Latifa al-Zayyat, Nawal El Saadawi, and many other Arab writers, and is the translator of Hassan Daoud's The Penguin's Song. She is Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud Professor in the Study of the Contemporary Arab World in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University.

Find out more
  • April 1st 2017
  • $17.95 / £11.99 / LE220
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9789774168178

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