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Temná strana lásky

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  905 ratings  ·  133 reviews
Zapovězená láska ve světě zkostnatělých arabských tradic, touha po svobodném životě bez společenských a politických pout... krvavá nenávist znepřátelených rodů, krutý despotický režim a náboženský fanatismus...
Hardcover, 709 pages
Published 2012 by Pavel Dobrovský - BETA s.r.o. (first published 2004)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  905 ratings  ·  133 reviews

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Aug 09, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: syria, dnf, disliked, hf, kirkus
I am so very frustrated with this book! The violence is repetitive. The sex is disturbingly portrayed, and it is repetitive too. There is no beauty in any love relationship. Beauty....I thought I would glimpse the beauty of the Syrian landscape. No! I thought I would be drawn into learning about Syrian history and culture. I thought I would get a feel for Damascus. All of this is lacking.

There is no emotional tie between the reader and the numerous characters. You meet a character and he is
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is without a doubt one of my favorite books of all time. I'm surprised to see that some of the other reviewers criticized for being yet another book about honor killings in Arabia; one of the things I loved about was that it did NOT deal with honor killings as the all-encompassing story, in fact, it was just one of the many haunting and exquisitely told stories in this mammoth of a book.

Definitely the length of the book should not be looked at as a hindrance: once I really got into the
Aug 03, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately a book too big for me. Don't get me wrong, if it had been interesting enough, I would have read the whole 1000 pages (with very very small letters). I thought it will give me the chance to find out more about that part of the world. But after 100 pages where you learn about a lot of characters who love and hate and produce children and die, I stopped reading.
I will put it on the shelf and read it when my head will be touched by dementia. Probably then I will find it more
While at the beginning, I had some trouble getting into the story of the family feud between two Christian families in Syria which began at the end of the 19th century and keeps influencing generation after generation, the book and its characters started to grow on me after having ploughed through the first third of the novel. While I found the repetitiveness of violence and forbidden love a little bit tiring at first, it became one topic of many in the course of the book. I truly enjoy the ...more
Mark Staniforth
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spanning eight hundred and ninety-six pages and three sprawling generations of Syrian families, 'The Dark Side Of Love' is a massive, monumental paean to passion in all its tragic glory.
Decades in its creation, Schami's work consists of three hundred and four separate fragments ordered together in the same intricate manner as the mosaics which adorn the Arab world's most splendid mosques. 'Each of these pieces tells a story, and when you have read them they show you their own secret colours,'
The Dark Side of love is an 853 page tome, set in Syria and written in German. Rafik Schami grew up in Syria but moved to Germany in 1971.

From the description on the back cover you would think this is a murder mystery, but it isn’t in the general sense. It starts at the end and then works it’s way backwards and forwards to create a mosaic of life and love that lead towards the end.

It is set between Damascus and the village of Mala, homeland of the warring Mushtak’s and Shahin families, who are
I gave it the old college try, but decided to abandon this novel after 100 pages. The Dark Side of Love is a story of Rana Shahin and Farid Mushtak, whose love story is similar to Romeo and Juliet, only this tale takes place in Syria, and the fighting between the families is much more violent. The novel begins when a body is found – a high ranking Muslim officer, and I presume that the remainder of the story unfolds like crime fiction, which is not really my cup of tea. There are many reviewers ...more
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The main story was interesting. However, there were too many side stories. I found them distracting. I read half of the book and just couldn't drum up the interest to finish it. I think it would have been an excellent book at half of its length and more focus on the main characters.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: around-the-world
I really think the blurb on Goodreads and on the back of my English paperback does this book a disservice, making it out to be a simple murder mystery when it is in fact an 800-page social history of Damascus and wider Syria that was 30+ years in the writing. The murder plot exists mainly to conveniently bookend an epic story of decades of clan rivalry, peppered with countless loosely-related vignettes that serve to illuminate daily life in an Arab state and the way different cultural and ...more
Mana Mashhadi
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved every single sentence in this book
Apr 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This took me far too long to read. The blurb on the back gives the impression it will be a murder mystery kind of story that it sent in Syria, so I figured I would see how investigations like that work in that setting. It's nothing like that. Around 95%, possibly more, of the book bears absolutely no relation to the original event at the opening of the book. There was, frankly, no need to tell a story going back over such a long period of time to only get to the original event and summarise the ...more
A literary mosaic about the mystery that is Damascus, where every "little piece tells a story, and when you have read them they show you their own secret colours. And as soon as you have read all the stories you will see the picture."

A story of forbidden love, misfortune and grief brought about by the antiquated Arabic notion of honour, and a nation's inability to come to terms with its multiplicity and embracing the richness of it's social, religious, political and ethnic mosaic.
Rafik Scahmi
Mostafa Mostafa

This book started in a really amazing and creative manner, which reminded me of bks like "house of the spirits" and "one hundred years of solitude"....aaand that was really promising!
That was untill the bk was all cenetered around Farid and the plot goes astray...focusing on stuff that really didnt make any difference regarding the plot and was just used to fill more and more pages!
We could have been better off without many secondary characters and details that were simply a waste of time!
I've reached page 172 and I admit I've lost interest!

The book is cluttered with too many characters; I can't tell who's who anymore.

I believe Rafik Schami is gifted in story telling but needs to acquire some zooming skills.

This is the second book I read for him and I like the Calligraphers Secret way better than this one

the other reason that pushed me away from this book is the amount of negative energy packed between its lines

This writer has the talent for romantic settings, so I wish to read
I would give it 2 and half a star really. The book was so long, full of details ( that did not really have a positive impact on me). I thanked god it ended happily. Diversity of stories based on different characters are amusing somethings but are useless other times.
The essence of the book is politics, religion and sex.

Would I recommend people to read it? No, the book would be a waste of time !
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The clan saved the Arabs from the desert but it enslaved them. "

I loved this book to bits and this could quite possibly be one of the best books of this year. I know it's quite early but this mammoth of a book has possibly everything you could ask for. To describe what the plot is, can be complicated because I am very happy to report that there isn't a linear plot. Instead, Rafik describes it as a mosaic, putting together an assortment of pieces till the big picture emerges and that is exactly
Rick Slane
The main characters are Christian set in Syria mostly during the 1950's and '60's. This was a little hard for me to enjoy at first. The plot construction is circular. The ending is at the beginning but you won't know what it means until you finish the book.
Nose in a book (Kate)
Rafik Schami writes in his afterword that ever since he was a 16-year-old boy in Syria, back in the 1960s, he had wanted to write a realistic Arab love story, but it took him 40-odd years to get it right. The result is a novel that looks at dozens of permutations of doomed romance against a backdrop of decades of Syrian history, though the bulk of the story is set in the 1950s and 1960s.

The novel opens with a murder mystery – a body has been found, and when the assigned detective is suddenly
This was the perfect book to read to get a taste of Syria - outside the main story, the author throws in small chapters that give little stories that seem like they came from his grandmother; stories about life in Syria through the ages, and the characters you find there. Stories about how people think and feel: women, men, all religions. So, why only 3 stars? Because it was too epic (i.e. long and complicated). It spanned several generations and hundreds of pages just to set the background for ...more
Terry Clague
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly wonderful book, very enjoyable despite the length - which many reviewers seemed to refer to, doubtless to brag (perhaps I should have read this in two volumes to get more goodreads credits).

I hope potential readers aren't put off by the length of the book - for a start my edition was printed in quite a large font and secondly, the chapters are very short. The story is soap opera-like with a large number of stories and people interweaving over time and space.

My only criticism is that one
Carey Combe
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
So far, the dark side of love seems to be that, in Syria, if you glance at a woman not your wife or a family member, your entire family will be slaughtered and generations of men will devote themselves to revenge bullshit. Muslims and Christians are both involved (Muslims claiming the #1 spot)but Jews may get into the action, too--after all, I've got 750 pages to go.

What's wrong with these people? Is it the climate? Religion seems to play little part. I wish I could report that the novel is set
Mala Hussain
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel, a beautiful story of forbidden love. I struggled with the first part, but as soon as we entered the world of the Mushtak's and the Shahin's I was completely absorbed by this book. Full of lovely short stories, I felt like I was sitting around a cosy camp fire, listening to each one.

Don't let the size put you off, it is a very easy book to put down and pick up after a break. I found it very relaxing to read, even through the very dark and gritty chapters. The author
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

If you're not a patient person, do not read this book. There were many times when I wanted to skip a few chapters - trust me, dont. Everything adds up in this book. It may get repetitive with the sex and murder but in the end it is beautiful. Maybe I say that because I'm Syrian myself and I understand his love of Damascus, but I'm also a person who loves books and this one was amazing. It was beautifully written, it really was.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic spectrum of emotion from start to finish. Descriptions of Syria and a Damascus close to the heart of anyone who has been there, paired with heartrending descriptions of the effects of the state's history of political turmoil on individual lives. Not a political novel, but a realistic one that takes into account politics when weaving a Syrian love story. An all time favorite.
Rita Bruckstein
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent novel about Syria in the last 100 years up to late sixties. A love story between members of enemies clans, told in short sections that bring a very vivid portrait of the Syrians - the political unstability , corruption, the horrible treatment of women and political prisoniers, many many short stories of the families members, love, children and parents relations, christians and muslims, education, etc. The reading of the 800 pages was very pleasant and interesting.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written book that tells the story of a forbidden love trying to escape a blood feud between two families in Syria in the 20th century. I also enjoyed discovering Damascus through the detailed descriptions of the author and the stories of Damascenes that he narrates throughout the book.
Alexandra Dorothea
A good book to understand what had happened in Syria and contributed to the current situation, but the story is taking place over decades and so it is sometimes hard to follow...anyway I would read it again, but not a second time.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a looooooong but beautiful book. But its worth a read. Each chapter tells a story and takes the reader in a different place.
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Born in Damascus, Syria in 1946, Rafik Schami (Arabic: رفيق شامي) is the son of a baker from an Arab-Christian (originally Aramaic) family. His schooling and university studies (diploma in chemistry) took place in Damascus. From 1965, Schami wrote stories in Arabic. From 1964-70 he was the co-founder and editor of the wall news-sheet Al-Muntalak (The Starting-Point) in the old quarter of the city. ...more
“why do our enemies shape us more than our friends?” 23 likes
“La pregunta es hija de la libertad.” 3 likes
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