Bassam and George are childhood best friends who have grown to adulthood in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon. Now they must choose their futures: to stay in the city and amass power by joining the corrupt militia; or to become exiles abroad, alienated from the only existence they have ever known. Bassam chooses one path: obsessed with leaving Beirut, he embarks on a series of petty crimes to finance his departure. Meanwhile, George builds his status in the militia-ruled underworld of the city, and embraces a life of killing, crime for profit, and drugs. Eventually and inevitably, the fates of the two friends collide.
Winner of International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2008.