Damascus Trance by Matt Rees

Damascus Trance

This is a short story set in present-ish day Damascus – a time and place much under-represented in fiction, sadly. I have read several crime novels set in Turkey and was pleased to have found this story, set in Syria, which is a taster for Mr Rees’s longer fiction set in the same time and place. The story has certainly persuaded me to sample something longer from this author.

I enjoyed the first 80% of the story very much. I didn’t mind that there was no attempt to find reasons for the problems of the Middle East. Plenty of greater brains than mine and Mr Rees’s have tried and failed at that. But the thing about a short story should be that something has changed as a result of what happens in it. And although plenty happened, nothing was changed as a result of the events on the page. I felt let down by this. The point of a short story is to gain insight.

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