'At once religious discussion, love story, mystery, delivered with the verve of an airport thriller ...The central character of this book is Jerusalem; the book reeks of its myriad mythologies and beliefs ...Damascus Gate is an amazing read ...a rare and remarkable feast of writing' Scotland on Sunday 'The heir of Conrad, Hemingway and, crucially, ...
'At once religious discussion, love story, mystery, delivered with the verve of an airport thriller ...The central character of this book is Jerusalem; the book reeks of its myriad mythologies and beliefs ...Damascus Gate is an amazing read ...a rare and remarkable feast of writing' Scotland on Sunday 'The heir of Conrad, Hemingway and, crucially, Graham Greene, Stone is at his best when his characters are in extremis ...the scenes of violent confrontation could not have been rendered more powerfully by any other writer ...formidable' Sunday Telegraph 'A book that is not afraid to take on the big themes like faith, faction, spirituality, tribalism, identity and injustice ...It is also an extraordinary treatment of Jerusalem itself ...With Stone, it has found the kind of imaginative interpreter that every city waits for' Sunday Times 'Writing this good should be engraved on tablets of stone in letters of fire and blood. Fantastic' Uncut 'Stone has a journalist's eye for detail, but a novelist's eye for irony ...Damascus Gate is rich with theme and atmosphere ...few writers could even attempt to capture, as Stone does, both the intense, combative spirituality of Jerusalem and the festering menace of Gaza' Esquire
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The New York Times recently published an intriguing article decribing antropology's attempts to explain man's religious nature. Why does some form of belief seem to be man's default state? Can evolution, physiology or natural science explain this mystery?
In Damascus Gate, Robert Stone attempts to explain this conundrum emotionally through a tale of ex patriot seekers living in Jeruselem. The book's depth is often daunting--at times it's as if the author expects you to have a working knowledge of the Hebrew language and Jewish mysticism.
In the end, though, the journey is worth the effort as the streets of Jersulslem and the camps of the Gaza strip slowly come alive. Stone's characters tug at your heart as they carry on with only hope as their salvation.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-02-16 From its sublime triumphs to its noble failures, Stone's first novel since Outerbridge Reach (1993) is a major work in every aspect, a sprawling, discordant prose symphony. In Jerusalem, which he depicts as a holy Bedlam, Stone finds the perfect setting for the spiritual agonies that have marked his most powerful writing. In that city, everyone suffers from the burden of faith, or lack of it, and everyone wants something, usually at any price. Expat American journalist Christopher Lucas wants a surer identityŠborn Christian and Jewish, he feels rooted to neither faithŠas well as love and, of course, a good story. But his desire has limits, drawn by conscience, and so he serves well as the reader's proxy, a normal man surrounded by seekers of the absolute. Around Lucas swirl addled saints, addicted sinners, con men, cruel members of Hamas and even crueler Israeli security forces. All the parties have their own agendas, most of which hinge on a conspiracy among extremist Israeli Jews and American Christians to blow up the Temple Mount and usher in Armageddon. Stone's presentation of this narrative backbone can be mechanical and sometimes seems extraneous to the novel's main theme of the wages of faith. More captivating is an ancillary plot involving a drug-blasted seeker's attempts to elevate a manic-depressive Jew as a world savior; one of his pawns, Sonia Barnes, an American Sufi who's also Lucas's love interest, proves as compelling as any Stone heroine. Most extraordinary, though, is the author's passionate etching of landscapes both physical and spiritual. The book opens slowly, with a diffuse if portentous ramble through the city, though the narrative intensifies through scenes of terror and moral gravityŠparticularly in a nightmare Gaza strip inflamed by riotŠuntil Jerusalem and its people coalesce to iridescent indelibility. Bold and bracing, ambitious and inspired, Damascus Gate is, even for its flaws, an astonishment. 100,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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