2. Just Like a River, by Muhammad Kamil Al-Khatib
Al-Khatib's short novel Just Like a River paints a mosaic portrait of Damascus during a 1984 missile crisis. Told in a series of vignettes, it is the story of the courtship of an Arab girl by a local scholar and professor. The struggle between the progressive, college-educated younger generation and the conservative older generation resonates across cultures but at the same time creates a vivid image of Syrian society at a particular moment in time, caught at a crossroad between the past and the future.