The Journey of Little Gandhi – by Elias Khoury
"He was born in Mashta Hasan, ran away from his father, who took him to his grandfather's cave, worked in the Miftah bakery in Tripoli, moved to Beirut where he worked in Abu Ayoun's restaurant, and then worked as a shoe shiner. He got married and had two children, Husn and Suad. Husn was a barber, and Suad was sick. He loved life and loved the flavor of it. Alice told him, and the Reverend Amin befriended him, and Davis turned him into a restaurant owner, and the dog died, and Gandhi grieved over the dog more than he grieved for his own father."
Such was the journey of Abd al-Karim (Husn al-Ahmadi al-Mughayiri), nicknamed Little Gandhi. As told by Alice to the one who tells the story here, it is, however, not so simple. In the hands of Elias Khoury, the tale of this humble shoe shiner living and working in Beirut during the recent Lebanese war is also the story of a city, perhaps a world, coming apart at the seams.
First published in Beirut, where it has gone through several printings, The Journey of Little Gandhi is representative of Khoury's distinctive style and narrative technique as well as his consistent exploration of Beirut as the locus of competing historical and political forces. As such, the book also reflects the author's significant, ongoing contribution to modern Arab literature.