In Damascus, every noun in the novel (with twelve exceptions) comes from the Times newspaper (London) of 1 November 1993.

This makes the book, by definition, a novel of its times.

Within this constraint, Hazel Burns and Spencer Kelly have to take life as they find it, and 1 November 1993 was the day on which the Maastricht treaty on European Union came into effect. From this date, all Britons officially became citizens of Europe, even those who were falling in love.

‘Damascus is utterly, optimistically charming.’
– Los Angeles Times

‘A deft and charming novel … we credit Beard’s characters with their wisdom, and feel at the novel’s end that some strange mystery has been enacted for us.’
– New York Times Book Review

‘A life-affirming, hope-giving profundity.’
– Glasgow Herald

‘A book with a real difference, which dramatically poses, and answers, the question ‘How much can a life change in an instant?’
– Irish Times

‘Damascus is an extraordinary and wonderful novel from one of the most exciting new writers in Britain.’
– Spike

‘Mr Beard’s wackiness has a shrewd precision that makes it infectious’
– New York Times

‘Magical realism meets the Maastricht Treaty: an unlikely scenario, but with ease and ingenuity this young British novelist builds from it a charming fiction.’
– Boston Globe

Richard Beard, writer, author, novelist, Sad Little Men, The Day That Went Missing, Acts of the Assassins, Becoming Drusilla, Manly Pursuits, UK