It is said that when a man has lived seven years in Damascus, Damascus lives in him. Damascus was Rafik Schami's home for 25 years before he went into exile, and he never forgot it. This 'Pearl of the Orient' is still the city he loves more than any other. Thirty years later, and now a prize-winning novelist, Schami leapt at the chance to write about his former home town. There were, however, two seemingly insurmountable barriers - time and geography. So Schami's sister Marie wandered through Damascus for a year on his behalf, relaying curiosities, sounds, personalities, tastes and the smells of the Old City, while Schami wrote them down, relishing the diverse mark left on Damascene cuisine by its multifarious history.
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