At the dawn of the 20th century, a young Lebanese explorer leaves the Levant for the wilds of Africa, encountering an eccentric English colonel in Sudan and enlisting in his service. In this lush chronicle of far-flung adventure, the military recruit crosses paths with a compatriot who has dismantled a sumptuous palace in Tripoli and is transporting it across the continent on a camel caravan. The protagonist soon takes charge of this hoard of architectural fragments, ferrying the dismantled landmark through Sudan, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula, attempting to return to his native Beirut with this moveable real estate. Along the way, he encounters skeptic sheikhs, suspicious tribal leaders, bountiful feasts, pilgrims bound for Mecca and T.E. Lawrence in a tent. This is a captivating modern-day Odyssey in the tradition of Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux.
"Charif Majdalani has a ripping yarn to tell and tells it with a raconteur's bravura. Transporting, wholly engaging, deeply moving. This book is why I travel and why I read."
—Andrew McCarthy, award-winning director, actor, and author of Just Fly Away and The Longest Way Home
"Moving the Palace is an eloquent, captivating excursion through a Middle East history that is more relevant today than ever. Majdalani is a major storyteller and a novelist with conscience who writes the past with transnational awareness."
—Rawi Hage, author of De Niro's Game and Cockroach
"On one side the desert, infinite, immensely varied, splendid. On the other, the courage, obstinacy, folly, violence, and dreams of men. Through this fascinating adventure, Charif Majdalani constructs one of the most beautiful epics I've ever read."
—Antoine Volodine, author of Minor Angels and Naming the Jungle
"This novel provides entrée into the extraordinary fictional work of Charif Majdalani; with each book he lays out magnificent, terrible and true history through family genealogy, hopes and dramas. And each time Majdalani renews our vision."
—Patrick Deville, author of Plague and Cholera