Writing & News

Two reviews of Bullet Paper Rock: A Memoir of Words and Wars (Abbas El-Zein) just in.


Coming to the end of its first month and Abbas El-Zein’s wonderful new book that riffs on language and growing up in a multilingual family in Lebanon has been gathering some excellent reviews. Here are two of them:

Read the full ABC review by Declan Fry here at the link:

From the Sydney Morning Herald (25/4/24) comes this one from Cameron Woodhead and Fiona Capp with the headline:

NON-FICTION PICK OF THE WEEK
Bullet Paper Rock
Abbas El-Zein, Upswell, $29.99

Amid the growing glut of mass-market memoirs, multifaceted gems such as this one are rare. The title captures, with exquisite and jarring concision, how war and conflict punctuated Abbas El-Zein’s childhood and youth in Lebanon and how they continue to reverberate through his life in Australia. While hostilities in the Middle East brought him within a hair’s breadth of becoming a casualty, the ruminations in these autobiographical essays are not defined by this violence. He is too aware of the subtle and random factors that shape our existence, the irresistible current of fate shoving us this way ″even as our minds scream in protest″. Historical forces, family, the nuances of language and El-Zein’s expansiveness of spirit combine to create a sometimes philosophical, sometimes dramatic discontinuous narrative full of wry and moving insights into the big and small moments that make up a life.