The Stray Cats of Homs

Nour, Eva
Swedish title
De hemlösa katterna i Homs
Fiction \ Literature & Fiction
Pub Date
Oct 11, 2018

A haunting narrative from the heart of the Syrian war. Based on true events

“In Arabic, a cat has seven souls, and in English they are meant to have nine lives. You must have had both nine lives and seven souls, or else I just don’t know how you’ve survived.”

Growing up in Homs, Syria, in the 80’s and 90’s, Sami’s childhood is like that of any ordinary child’s; playing with his siblings and caring for the stray cats, dogs and birds around their home. The only omen of the horrors to come are persistent rumours of the al-Assad regime abusing their power, and increasing limits to the personal freedoms of the people.

In 2000, when Bashar al-Assad takes over power in Syria, things start changing, and not for the better. Sami is conscripted into the military and trains as a cartographer, shielded from the worst horrors of the battle field. As the seeds of the Arab Spring are sown in 2010 at the same time as Sami’s military service ends, he hears of the wave of demonstrations all around the country – spreading into Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Then, he receives a text message from his girlfriend, Sarah, who is participating in the demonstrations: ‘They are firing on us!’

The full horror hits: Syria is heading into open civil war, with government troops killing its own citizens. What Sami decides to do next will echo down the years, and shape his entire future. And he does not choose the easy route...

THE STRAY CATS OF HOMS is a heart-rending, earth-shattering novel based on real life events about the impossible choices we make, the hope of revolution and enduring love amidst the death and despair of war. Reminiscent of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Susan Abulhawa’s Mornings in Jenin, it is also perfect for fans of Emily Robbins’ A Word for Love.