‘A cat has seven souls in Arabic. In English cats have nine lives. You probably have both nine lives and seven souls, because otherwise I don’t know how you’ve made it this far.’
Sami’s childhood is much like any other – an innocent blend of family and school, of friends and relations and pets (including stray cats and dogs, and the turtle he keeps on the roof).
But growing up in one of the largest cities in Syria, with his country at war with itself, means that nothing is really normal. And Sami’s hopes for a better future are ripped away when he is conscripted into the military and forced to train as a map maker.
Sami may be shielded from the worst horrors of the war, but it will still be impossible to avoid his own nightmare…
Inspired by extraordinary true events, The Stray Cats of Homs is the story of a young man who will do anything to keep the dream of home alive, even in the face of unimaginable devastation. Tender, wild and raw, it is a novel which will stay with you for ever.
Compelling & Magnetic!
What an absolutely awesome book! Not one to forget in a hurry – if ever.
Sami lives in Homs, Syria, with his parents and siblings. They do all the things we all do growing up, but most of us don’t have a war zone moving closer to our home town. Sami hopes their are better days to come – and this is his story.
I hadn’t realised that this was a biographical tale until I read on at the end of the novel – and I would urge everyone else to continue and find out where the story came from. I cannot begin to describe the effect this one has had on me; I feel quite ashamed that I didn’t know more about this conflict. This is an astonishing, compelling and magnetic book which touched me in more ways than I can explain and I don’t doubt that it’s headed for the very top of the best sellers list! For a debut novel, it’s astounding but I now understand that it’s been written as a passion and, in my opinion, that always produces the very best reads. Beautifully-written and quite spell-binding, I couldn’t put it down until I reached the very last and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I have dreamt about this book and I suspect I will again. The Stray Cats of Homs earns every one of the five glittering stars that I have to give it – anything else would be a travesty.
My grateful thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley – I’m so excited to have read this novel. This is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.
Tags: biographical fiction
- Format: ebook, hardcover, audiobook
- Size: 384 pages
- Publisher: Transworld Digital
- Publication Date: 6 August 2020
- Links: Goodreads
- Google Play
Eva Nour is a journalist writing under a pseudonym. She was inspired to write The Stray Cats of Homs, her debut novel, by meeting and falling in love with the real ‘Sami’. Today the couple share a life together in Paris.