Matt Rees's Blog – June 2009 Archive (21)

Culture and harshness in Central Europe: Adam Lebor's Writing Life

Political writing at its best highlights the unexpected changes in parts of our world that are hidden to us. That’s true of writing about the corridors of power in our own capital cities, but it’s even more of a factor for a writer like Adam Lebor whose work – fiction and nonfiction – has captured the dynamism and double-dealing… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 29, 2009 at 5:55pm — No Comments

Hot Reading in East Jerusalem!

This weekend I was the guest of Munther Fahmi, who runs the excellent bookshop at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem, for a reading from my newest Palestinian crime novel THE SAMARITAN'S SECRET. Munther and I have been scheming for some time to organize an event,… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 28, 2009 at 9:05pm — No Comments

When poets do the talking

A new book examines the lives of Palestinian poets

By Matt Beynon Rees - on GlobalPost

JERUSALEM — Whenever Palestinian and Israeli artists get together for public “dialogues,” it always seems to end with the Israelis saying, “We’re sorry,” and… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 27, 2009 at 4:10pm — No Comments

Is the heat getting to me?

I'm taking a break of a couple of weeks between drafts of my latest novel. To clear my head and to allow my body to accustom itself to a step up in desert heat here in Jerusalem (it's hard to concentrate the first day the temperature hits 35 degrees, particularly when you write standing up as I do). So it's good to have reminders of how my novels are establishing themselves on the international thriller and mystery scene.…


Added by Matt Rees on June 26, 2009 at 6:13pm — 2 Comments

The most obscure band in Jerusalem

I bet you didn't know there was an underground scene in Jerusalem (at least not an underground music scene; you've probably heard of some other undergrounds that operate here). Here's a little bit of Middle East insider poop for you: what's the most obscure underground band in Jerusalem?

Answer: Dolly Weinstein.

A fivesome (formerly a sixsome, sometimes foursome) of folk rock and rock standards, featuring yours truly on bass.

Other writers are notable for… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 26, 2009 at 5:39pm — No Comments

Stranger than zinc bars and literary fiction

Foreign correspondents are always more enthusiastic about Beirut than about Amman. Just like critics prefer “literary” fiction to crime novels.

It seems to me they’re both wrong, and for the same reasons.

Visiting reporters always rave about Beirut. Mainly because there’s a very un-Middle Eastern nightlife there. Zinc bars. Beautiful girls in spaghetti-strap tops beside the zinc bars. Booze, dance clubs, DJs.

They’re not really interested in the broken-down… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 25, 2009 at 10:05pm — No Comments

My 5 favorite novels

My second Palestinian crime novel A Grave in Gaza (UK title: The Saladin Murders) is just now published in Holland. The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant asked me to contribute a list of my five favorite books, or at least those which've had the biggest impact on me as a writer. Here's what I wrote:

Let It Come Down – Paul Bowles

Writers look… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 25, 2009 at 1:17am — No Comments

Watch the Video: A Grave in Gaza

The video blog Watch the Video features the clip I made for the second of my Palestinian crime novels A Grave in Gaza (UK title: The Saladin Murders). The rest of my videos feature on my Youtube channel.

Many writers make promotional videos for their books these days, as you'll see from the Watch the Video site. Most of them are made up largely of still photos and have quite a lot in… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 24, 2009 at 12:27am — No Comments

Rees book launch in Jerusalem

The Bookshop at the American Colony Hotel

is proud to present

an evening with

Matt Rees

Who will be reading and speaking about his latest novel

The Samaritan's Secret

Matt Rees is an award-winning crime novelist who lives in Jerusalem. Major authors have compared him to Graham Greene and John Le Carre. The French magazine L’Express called him “the Dashiell Hammett of… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 23, 2009 at 5:23pm — No Comments

Review: The thriller that reminds us why Euro politics matter

The Budapest Protocol, by Adam Lebor

(Reportage Press)

Sometimes a journalist comes across something so powerful that it seems bigger than the project he’s researching. Usually it’s put aside to serve as the basis for a future project, a magazine article or another nonfiction book.

Sometimes it takes such a grip on the writer’s… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 21, 2009 at 11:38pm — 3 Comments

Thriller Bugbear #69: Plot-Point Techno Madness!

Much as I love Nordic crime fiction, the Europewide megaseller “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson made me want to throw knives like the Swedish chef on The Muppet Show. Why?

Two reasons.

First, the minor reason. Written by a (tragically deceased) Swedish journalist, the book is… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 18, 2009 at 9:05pm — 2 Comments

Lecture en francais a Jerusalem

Je fais une lecture en francais chez la librairie francaise a Jerusalem ce mois. Voici les detailles :

«Meurtre chez les Samaritains» de Matt Rees, Editions Albin Michel

Tout est possible en Palestine, et rien ne dit que le jeune Ishaq, le fils du prêtre des Samaritains de Naplouse, n’a pas été exécuté parce qu’il était homosexuel. Rien ne dit non plus que sa connaissance intime des caisses noires du Vieux, l’ancien Président de l’Autorité palestinienne, ne lui a pas été fatale.… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 18, 2009 at 6:42pm — No Comments

Netanyahu holds his line

Israeli Prime Minister ignores Obama and reiterates same policies

by Matt Beynon Rees on Global Post

JERUSALEM — It’s as if Obama never happened.

Less than two weeks ago President Barack Obama laid out his plans for the Middle East in a speech in Cairo. He called for a freeze on Israeli settlement… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 15, 2009 at 4:24pm — No Comments

A living foreign correspondent the most useless thing to media industry -- Reviewing a "Novel of Jihad"

The magazine of Harvard's Nieman Fellowship asked me to write an essay about Jeffrey Fleishman's "Promised Virgins: A Novel of Jihad". I wrote about why international correspondents like me and Fleishman, Cairo bureau chief for the LA Times, turn to novels to express the depth of what we learn about a foreign culture. Here's how the article begins:

Jay Morgan,… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 14, 2009 at 5:59pm — No Comments

Grassroots signs for my Palestinian crime novels

A new review in the Ann Arbor Chronicle suggests healthy grassroots popularity for my Palestinian crime novels. The review of my first Palestinian crime novel "The Collaborator of Bethlehem" (UK Title: The Bethlehem Murders) is written by Robin Agnew, owner of Aunt Agatha's Mystery Bookstore in Ann Arbor. She… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 13, 2009 at 8:56pm — No Comments

Warm Guns and Whingers: Happy-Guru Eric Weiner's Writing Life

What’s happiness? A large income, Jane Austen said. Absolute ignorance, according to the delightfully morbid Grahame Greene. Or John Lennon’s less delightfully morbid warm gun. Whatever else it is, happiness is done to death. But where it is? That’s something new. The genius of Eric Weiner’s New York Times… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 10, 2009 at 7:11pm — No Comments

Cant' wait for The Corruptionist

I heard from my chum Christopher G. Moore that he just finished writing the 11th in his series of Vincent Calvino crime novels set in Bangkok. That's good news, because I already read his brilliant and forthcoming Paying Back Jack. (See my review "… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 8, 2009 at 1:22am — No Comments

Look out, God--Here's Shalom Auslander's Writing Life interview

“Fuck,” said God. …That’s a line from one of the short-stories in Shalom Auslander’s “Beware of God.” I live in the Middle East, so I feel like I hear God saying “Fuck!” almost every day. (If He doesn’t, then He’s not reading the newspapers.) “Beware of God” nails faith and the faithful as only a genius of satire can do. A very angry genius of satire, I ought… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 5, 2009 at 10:25pm — No Comments

Michael Palin mistakes the Palestinians for Buddhists

Last week at the Palestine Literature Festival, Michael Palin produced some of his funniest material since his Monty Python heyday. However, he probably didn’t intend it to be funny.

Palin told an audience that was rather lacking in actual Palestinians – mainly locally based international aid workers, diplomats and heaven knows who else – that he had seen how Israeli checkpoints worked. He thought it’d be a good idea to “always look on the bright side of life” and see the checkpoints… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 5, 2009 at 1:04am — No Comments

Obama's speech: the view from Jerusalem

President Barack Obama spelled out what he expects of the Israeli government in his Cairo speech, issuing a challenge that most commentators here believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no way of meeting [I wrote on Global Post today].

Obama’s speech, carried live on all three main Israeli television stations, made clear his firm opposition to any sort of building in Israel’s West Bank settlements. “This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on June 5, 2009 at 12:42am — 3 Comments

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