> Skip to content
  • Published: 16 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9781784707996
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $19.99

The Frightened Ones




Shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, this is an electrifying new novel from contemporary Syria on life in a climate of fear

'A complex tale of revolution, displacement, delusional love' Guardian
In Damascus, Suleima and Naseem's relationship is torn apart by the outbreak of civil war. With Naseem now seeking refuge in Germany, he sends Suleima the unfinished manuscript of his novel - and what she reads will throw her entire identity into question. Who is the unnamed woman in the book, and just what is Naseem trying to say? In search of answers, Suleima must confront what has happened to her family, to her country, and start to make sense of who she is.

Told with riveting immediacy, this is an intimate portrayal of living with fear from an electrifying new voice in international fiction.

'A shocking journey through the realities of life under the Assad regime' TLS

  • Published: 16 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9781784707996
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Dima Wannous

Dima Wannous was born in 1982. She is a writer and translator who studied French literature at Damascus University and the Sorbonne. She is the author of a short story collection, Details (2007), and two novels, The Chair (2008) and The FrightenedOnes (2017), which was shortlisted for the Arabic International Prize for Literature.

Praise for The Frightened Ones

‘THE FRIGHTENED ONES eloquently locates the crux of the Syrian experience, during a time of brutal repression. In this brilliant novel, Dima Wannous tells us the story of the revolution through the voices of two women . . . With its economy of language, this captivating novel leaves us astounded by the ability of literature to create beauty amidst pain.’

Elias Khoury

'A complex tale of revolution, displacement, delusional love . . . most memorable in surreal details and glancing tales. The analyst Kamil emerges as the novel’s quiet hero – strangely reminiscent of Dr Rieux in Camus’s The Plague'

Maya Jaggi, Guardian

The nerve-stretching tension and horror of life in Assad’s Syria is conveyed in this cunningly constructed novel… [The Frightened Ones] shortlisted for the Arabic International Prize for Literature, examines how fear strangles lives. It’s brutal and unsettling

David Mills, Sunday Times

Related titles