Two days into a visit to Lebanon in June, I sensed my reputation for navigation had fallen to the floor on the grounds of a rattling failure to locate a bookshop I knew was only a few hundred metres from our hotel in Beirut’s teeming Hamra district.

In its dense, often unrevealing Levantine setting, you would have thought The LittleBookshop would advertise itself like a siren to a foreigner adrift — especially one anxious to find English translations of Elias Khoury, Alexandre Najjar and Amin Maalouf. No such luck. I had some excuses — street signs rendered in inscrutable Arabic, slight discrepancies between map and actuality, the general disorientation that comes with foreignness.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.