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The Bullet Collection

The Bullet Collection

Author(s): Patricia Sarrafian Ward

Location(s): Lebanon

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): 1980s

Marianna watches her older sister Alaine collect the detritus of war from around Beirut–bullets, shrapnel, grenades, a gas mask. These objects, some taken from dead bodies, catalogue Alaine’s retreat into a dangerous depression. As the family struggles to endure the daily violence of the Middle East conflict, it is Marianna who becomes her older sister’s keeper, watching for any signal that might trigger one of Alaine’s frequent, grim excavations. But once the family escapes to America, Alaine’s newfound contentment is as alien to Marianna as her madness once was. As Marianna longs for her beloved, war-torn home, she struggles to understand that now she is the difficult sister.

In lyrical, dreamlike prose, The Bullet Collection by Patricia Sarrafian Ward mines both the stunning, exotic landscape of Beirut and the pure, defiant landscape of a child’s heart, and shows how war leaves its indelible scars on both.

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