Mister N by Najwa Barakat

Mister N

Najwa Barakat

This raw and probing novel charts the pain, suffering and cruelty of its protagonist in an unstable narrative which mirrors their mental state. A shocking, claustrophobic and destabilising read, Mister N explores physical and mental resilience and misery in a Lebanan represented as divided by poverty and damaged by war.

Extract

Was I atoning for some sin? What connection did I have to their misery and wretchedness that made me feel this guilt? What about my own misery and wretchedness? Who was atoning for that? However strange the whole thing seemed, the beatings helped by loosening the painful knots inside. It was as though they healed me making the pain tangible, visible, like the colours and shapes seen in a photographic negative. After years of treatment and deception, I was now finding my medicine where I least expected, out in the street among ghostly strangers of various dialects and hues.

Parallels
  • An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
  • Inside No. 9- Series 7, Episode 3- Nine Lives Kat- TV programme
  • Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice by Mary Fulbrook