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 1980’s Sami’s childhood is like that of any ordinary child’s. In 2000, when Bashar al-Assad takes over power, things change, and not for the better. Sami is conscripted into the military and trains as a cartographer, shielded from the worst horrors. As the seeds of the Arab Spring are sown in 2011 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. Influenced by Imre Kertész’s witness literature and Samar Yazbek’s Syrian reportage, it is also reminiscent of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Susan Abulhawa’s Mornings in Jenin. For fans of Emily Robbins’ A Word for Love.