Barnaby Rogerson reviews Only the Dead: A Levantine Tragedy | Country Life 25.12.2019

Only the Dead: A Levantine Tragedy by T. J. Gorton only the dead ted gorton

PB • 216x138mm (with flaps) • £12 • Fiction (F) • 9780704374607 • £14 • Quartet Books

Only the Dead: A Levantine Tragedy is also, by chance, the creation of an American with long experience of the language, life and literature of the Middle East.

Ted Gorton has created a fictional memoir of a Lebanese entrepreneur who looks back over the stirring events of the past decades from the shelter of his poetry library in a villa overlooking bombed-out Beirut.

What makes it exceptional is the fusion of portraits of real people with impeccably researched historical detail.

I found myself immersed in a fast-paced narrative packed full of adventures on the battlefield and in the bedroom and spliced with espionage, revenge, betrayal and war—and I could not put it down.

Barnaby Rogerson