In a makeshift hospital in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Beirut, Yunis, an ageing Palestinian freedom fighter, lies in a coma. His spiritual son Dr Khaleel - who has no real medical qualifications - nurses the older man, refusing to admit that his hero may never regain consciousness. In an attempt to revive his patient, Khaleel begins telling Yunis the stories of their people's exile in Lebanon.
He evokes deserted peasant villages, the suffering caused by the Lebanese civil war and the refugees' popes to return home with a subtle mixture of anger and compassion. Khaleel also narrates Yunis' own extraordinary life. Interweaving many true-life tales collected throughout Lebanon and its refugee camps over the course of seven years, Elias Khoury has created a monumental and spellbinding saga.