“Before I continue to pour out my soul, let me confide in you that Lebanon is one of those countries that produces nothing but its own periodic tragedies.” –“Dear Mr Kawabata,” by Rashid al-Daif

BEIRUT — Yasunari Kawabata’s mark on the literary world did not fade much after he died by his own hand in a gas-filled room in 1972. Such was the universal regard for his work that, 23 years later, a Lebanese author would address a novel in Arabic to the Nobel Prize-winning Japanese writer.

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