In A House at the Edge of Tears a sister struggles to carry on the legacy of her brother's budding talent for writing. Only she can save her brother's poems from her tyrannical father's beating-induced psychosis. A semi-autobiographical account from National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Vénus Khoury-Ghata, translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker.
In the city of Beirut, five shabby dwellings circle a courtyard with a pomegranate tree weeping blood red fruit. The residents hear screams in the night as a boy is beaten by his father—a punishment for masturbating in his sleep. A crime not worthy of the punishment: the neighbors gossip and decide that he must have tried to rape his sisters. The poems he writes are perhaps an even greater crime to his father, but ultimately a gift to his eldest sister, who narrates their story with a combination of brutal truth and stunning prose. As her brother becomes more and more lost to his family and to himself, we also learn of a Contessa who teaches tango, a family who spends every Sunday in search of buried treasure, and the miracle of a weeping Madonna statue that cries when human tears run dry.
In this novel, novelist and poet, Khoury-Ghata, presents the disintegration of a family and a country—both ruled by a fury fueled by fear.