Interview conducted by Marie-Christine Tayah
Elena Lopez fell in love with Lebanon. A country that inspired her to write her novel, ‘Marina di Beyrouth.’ Emotionally taken by the country stories and ancient times, she finds herself in the middle of a 2006 war crisis, and describes a strange dialogue which takes place between two lost souls. With a heartfelt pen, she writes down the story of a torn yet proud Lebanon, which goes back to life from ashes, and stands tall, welcoming warmly each and every visitor, putting a spell on each person that steps on its ground and dances on its soil. Marina di Beyrouth is Elena Lopez’s broadmindedness acceptance and a note of perseverance spontaneously written, discussing impulsively the war, drugs, and social clashes, with no restriction. Elena shares with Lifestyle Middle East some thoughts… before she runs into further projects; translation, theater plays, and new books are all her sacred territory, which she shares with whomever has an eager soul and a free heart.
How was your first encounter with Lebanon like?
I first visited Lebanon at the time of the Cedars’ revolution. I went back again there in 2006 and loved this country so much that I decided to stay. When I was a little girl, we used to watch TV and see some pictures about Lebanon at war. In parallel, my dad had bought an encyclopedia which was describing Lebanon before the war. I preferred to stick to my dad’s image of Lebanon.
Can you tell us more about your book, ‘Marina di Beyrouth’?
In 2008, I spent two years writing this book. It is a theater play, but some would say that it’s a mix of different genres. Mr. Jalal Khoury, who I met at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut, wrote the book introduction. The main revelation in this book was that I predicted the Arab revolution; the book was published in June 2010 and Joseph the hero was dreaming of the youth standing up and out and requesting their freedom and rights. In December 2010, the Arab Spring took place.
In which language was the book originally written and what was the theme tune mostly highlighted in this book?
I wrote my book in French and translated it into Spanish later on. I would say silence. Silence had a great importance and place in my book. I wrote about blue silence, whole silence, short silence, sexual silence…
An angel passes by… angels pass by…
Do you recall any particular piece?
Joseph says, ‘my country is condemned to failure. It will vanish.’
And Marina replies, ‘even though your country has been hit since its birth, it always managed to rise up from ashes, like a phoenix. You don’t like Lebanon because you don’t like yourself. Just like an anorexic woman who thinks she’s fat whereas she has a beautiful body.’