Voices of the Lost

Pages: 208
Imprint: Oneworld

Voices of the Lost

Winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2019

Hoda Barakat

Translated by Marilyn Booth
Winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, a devastating story of displacement, war, and the unlikely glimmer of hope in the dark
9781786077226 (4 Feb 2021)
RRP £12.99

The Book

Winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, a devastating story of displacement, war, and the unlikely glimmer of hope in the dark

In an unnamed country torn apart by war, six strangers are compelled to share their darkest secrets. Taking pen to paper, each attempts to put in writing what they can't bring themselves to say to the person they love - mother, father, brother, lost love. Their words form a chain of dark confessions, none of which reaches the intended recipient. But their consequences will ripple through other lives, affecting strangers in ways the writers could never have anticipated...

Luminous and haunting, Voices of the Lost tells the moving story of characters living on the periphery, battling displacement, poverty, and the demons within themselves. From one of today's most talented Arabic writers, this is the story of lives intimately woven together in a society that is tearing itself apart. 

Additional Information

Pages 208
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Hoda Barakat was born in Beirut in 1952. She studied French Literature at the Lebanese University and moved to Paris with her family in 1989. She has published five novels and two plays. Her novels have been translated into several languages and received numerous prestigious prize nominations. The Tiller of Waters (2000) was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature while her fifth novel, The Kingdom of This Earth, (2012) was longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2013. In 2015, she was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize (at the time awarded in recognition of an author's body of work). She currently lives in France.


‘A writer for our times: her prose is at once reflective and morally astute. Her novels possess a gravity in their confident, thoughtful style that bursts with tension and profound emotion.'

- Mediapart

‘A short, deeply intense novel. A book of shadows which shows us the cracks threatening the modern Arab world.'

- France Culture

‘Anger, despair and passion are lyrically expressed...the beauty of her writing does nothing to detract from the candour of this narrative.'

- Livres Hebdo

‘Hoda Barakat offers a penetrating insight into the minds of people whose inner lives are all too often dismissed without a second thought.'

- L'Humanité

‘In a style that is by turns precise and sumptuous, Hoda Barakat... tirelessly explores themes of metamorphosis, of madness, of countries left behind, and of journeys with no hope of return.'

- Le Matricule des Anges

‘An immensely talented novelist.'

- Transfuge

'An astonishing novel, superbly translated from the original Arabic, in which grave, naked confessions are delivered by characters orbiting in motion. It is a fierce, challenging exploration of the extremities of rootlessness and desperation, rendered in a shocking clarity of voice.'

- Leila Aboulela, author of Bird Summons

'Hoda Barakat's new novel reveals to us the many faces of power, war, love and despair as destinies mysteriously intersect, and all certainties are shaken. Through these letters, we glimpse the hidden story of immigration: characters condemned to suffer for nothing more than being born in the wrong place.'

- Jokha Alharthi, author of Celestial Bodies, winner of the Man Booker International Prize