Inspector Hyder lit a cigarette, he knew it was illegal to smoke in private property other than one’s own, but he smoked anyway. It was one of those idiosyncratic rules that the President had applied to the Nation.

Epimenidis opened one eye. In the flickering light of the oil lamp, a giant hand holding a needle as long as a sword crossed and recrossed the wall. Diamanda was sewing something into her mattress. The shadow grew smaller and disappeared as he drifted back to sleep.

To me the novel is a magnificent form, and the greatest of challenges for a writer because it encompasses all aspects of human existence: feeling, thought, sensation, intuition, the lyric epiphany and the inexorable epic all fall within its compass.

Gaza is a city at breaking point. The economy has stalled and unemployment spreads its shadow over all the young people fruitlessly searching for any kind of work. Nor is the political climate any more hopeful.