It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Stray Cats of Homs by Eva Nour, translated by Agnes Broomé.
About the Author
Eva Nour is a journalist writing under a pseudonym. She was inspired to write The Stray Cats of Homs, her debut novel, by meeting and falling in love with the real ‘Sami’.
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About the book
Sami’s childhood is much like any other – an innocent blend of family and school, of friends and relations and pets (including stray cats and dogs, and the turtle he keeps on the roof). But growing up in one of the largest cities in Syria, with his country at war with itself, means that nothing is really normal. And Sami’s hopes for a better future are ripped away when he is conscripted into the military and forced to train as a map maker.
Sami may be shielded from the worst horrors of the war, but it will still be impossible to avoid his own nightmare…
Inspired by extraordinary true events, The Stray Cats of Homs is the story of a young man who will do anything to keep the dream of home alive, even in the face of unimaginable devastation. Tender, wild and unbearably raw, it is a novel which will stay with you for ever.
This is a semi-biographical story written for and with the person behind the voice of Sami. The story of a country oppressed, tortured and destroyed by its own regime.
The people, in particular Syrian refugees, are gravely misunderstood. If you haven’t lived under a regime that gives you no freedom or rights and any dissent means death, disappearance or worse – it’s hard for someone raised in a Western democracy to comprehend the reality of living under a regime like that.
For me the true strength of the story, the message and voice of Sami which permeates through both consciousness and soul, is the way Nour doesn’t venture beyond borders and countries. It’s a singular experience in their home environment. Sami doesn’t experience the world, the political interactions outside of his environment. He experiences the repercussions of decisions made above his head but for the greater part the author has made a smart tactical decision to deliver this story as an encapsulated experience. One of many bubbles floating through the air – each with a different path and outcome. A story from within, about one of the world’s toughest dictatorships.
The most poignant point Nour makes is the animal vs human one of course. When presented with the horrendous reality of war and conflict, especially when the outside world is given a window into the inner world of tragedy, trauma and death – how does the majority of humankind react especially those on the righteous pedestals of social media.
Maimed and disfigured man, raped and defiled woman, dead child – oh no wait, save the kitty. Is the kitty safe, show me a picture. In one sentence a decision is made, a judgement is cast, a denial is thrust forth and ultimately a choice is made. In a way an interesting parallel to draw when it comes human reaction, accountability and bystander apathy on a global scale.
It’s an incredibly poignant book and a voice that should be heard.
Buy The Stray Cats of Homs at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Doubleday; pub date 13th August / Hardback / £12.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Waterstones.