This is not only Chaker Khazaal’s newest book, but also his memoir with a twist. Growing up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Chaker Khazaal’s mission was to escape displacement and find his rightful place in the world. This detailed glimpse into his life takes you on an exciting adventure from the Middle East to North America and beyond. All will be revealed in Chaker’s pursuit of success — a journey of internal psychological conflicts. Ouch!
Denied entry to his homeland in February 2020, Chaker returns to Beirut and liaises remotely with a team of lawyers to contest Israel’s decision. Coincidentally, Covid-19 starts to force lockdowns around the world. Chaker quickly adapts to the restrictions and continues his involvement in a variety of global projects. Meanwhile, the world is struggling to comprehend the unprecedented occurrences taking place — from the Lebanese revolution to the Black Lives Matter protests — culminating in the Beirut Port blast on August 4, 2020. Although Chaker survives the fourth-largest explosion in the world, can he overcome his mental struggles?
During the lockdown, Adam, a Palestinian waiter at the Smallville Hotel, develops a friendship with Chaker. Amid the chaos and tension, their inexplicable connection leads to an astonishing climax that no reader will ever foresee. In this psychological thriller, Chaker’s painful secret is finally revealed. Ouch!
Celebrating his 33rd birthday today, September 28, the author shared the cover of this highly anticipated novel. A portrait shot by Lebanese photographer Mohamad Seif, the cover of Ouch! shows Chaker Khazaal with his thumb amputated. “You have to read the book to understand the significance of the thumb” says Khazaal.
The book is set to be available in stores and online as of October 17, 2020; and here is Khazaal’s preface in the advanced copy.
A Letter from the Author
Limited Edition, Advanced Foreword
I wrote this memoir – with a twist – in 17 days, following the deadly Beirut Port blast on August 4th, 2020. Surviving the world’s fourth-largest explosion awakened a multitude of feelings, memories, and unspoken thoughts. Putting pen to paper proved to be a cathartic experience, and I present to you an advanced copy of my 5th book, OUCH!
Firstly, as a former refugee and now published author, writing OUCH! was a significant healing process, first suggested by my mentor Ayman Jomaa, and then encouraged and supported by family members and friends.
As a result of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown, I found myself once again displaced in Lebanon, ironically, the country of my childhood displacement. During that time, I witnessed first-hand the deteriorating political and economic situation, a revolution, a pandemic, and the destruction caused by the Beirut Port blast. These scenes brought to the surface a myriad of internal psychological conflicts that had laid dormant for years. At such a pivotal period in my life, pen exploded on paper, magically creating a canvas of thoughts.
My creation – which I duly share with the people of Lebanon who have endured so much pain – was born from the confines of a balcony at the Smallville Hotel in Beirut. Sophia Fakhry, Founder and General Manager, and her superhero staff went out of their way to ensure I was safe and well looked after, and I thank them for their unwavering devotion. The release date of October 17th, 2020, is especially significant, coinciding with the 1st anniversary of the Lebanese protests when people took to the streets to vent their frustration against the corruption and social injustices taking place in their country.
Secondly, as an invited speaker at the 2020 Athens Democracy Forum in association with the New York Times joining a prominent group of peers, it was imperative to bring with me 50 copies of OUCH! Having this unique opportunity to share an advanced draft of my book was only made possible by a global team that worked relentlessly – day and night over four time zones- to make it happen, and we welcome your feedback. A work in progress, but close to completion, please excuse any typos or errors as our team of experts continue their commitment to the final edition!
Allen Carter (Senior Editor), Stella Andonoff (Managing Editor) and Jeffrey Barry (Proofreader) from Canada; Dr. Marie Tomb (Proofreader) from Lebanon; Mohamad el-Chawli and the DapraLab team from the United States; Barbara Weinberg (PR) from Australia; Omar Kandil, Nour Aramouni, Said Marrouk, Mohamad Seif, Diana Wehbe, Ghada Harfouche, Rakan Abu Taha and Feven Tsegay from Lebanon; Kamel Asmar from the United Arab Emirates; Emile, Pascale, and Antoine from Hachette Antoine Book Group; and our global and diverse reading committee headed by Nayla Issa – worked tirelessly to meet a stringent deadline. A gift to myself in celebration of my 33rd birthday, the directive was 50 copies by September 28th, 2020, to accompany me on my flight to Athens the same day. OUCH!
Please enjoy the read – a glimpse into the limits we endure to adapt, especially when chaos abounds in our lives – and welcome to my network!