The Russian Quarter

Khalil Alrez

The Russian Quarter tells the story of a neighbourhood which for many years resists being dragged into the war going on around it, but is finally compelled to get involved. However, it enters the war with stories rather than weapons. Some of the book’s characters are a giraffe from the zoo, a poodle, a female Afghan hound and a sparrow made of wool. Its human ones include the narrator, a translator living in the zoo in the Russian quarter; Victor Ivanitch, a Russian former journalist and now manager of the zoo; Abu Ali Suleiman, French teacher and owner of a clothes shop; ‘Isam, a popular hero working in a cabaret; Rashida from Morocco, former oud player in the cabaret; Arkady Kuzmitch, a little-known Russian writer; and Nuna, daughter of a clarinet player, who knits wool and lives with the narrator in the zoo, and many others…


Difaf Publishing


2020 Shortlist