Road to Damascus is the debut book by Jazz Shaban.
Spanning 30 years, Road to Damascus is the true story of sisters, Suzan and Jigi. Separated as children they are brought up in different countries, neither knowing of the others whereabouts.
Upon the death of their father, Suzan is taken back to the Middle East by their mother. But Jigi, just eight months old and born with a rare bone disease, is left behind in a south London hospital. Their mother promises the authorities that she will return to England after she has buried her husband. She doesn’t.
However, a life destined for purpose is seldom left to chance, it’s just that neither Suzan nor Jigi know it yet
Road to Damascus is the true story of two sisters, Suzan, a Muslim, and Jigi a Christian, who are separated as children and brought up in different countries, neither knowing of the others whereabouts. Twelve year old Suzan is taken by her mother from London to Amman, Jordan after the death of her father in 1965. But Jigi, Suzan’s baby sister and born with brittle bones, is left behind in a south London hospital. Their mother promises the authorities that she will return to London after she has buried her husband, but she doesn’t.
Moving from hospital to a children’s home in Oxfordshire, Jigi knows little of her family background, or that she has a sister at all. Armed with a cast-iron determination not to conform to stereotype, Jigi bumps and crashes her way through school expecting freedom, a fun and Simon Le Bon when she finally leaves. What she gets is rejection, discrimination and an ill-prepared society that has no use for society’s rejects.
For six years Suzan is passed around various family members while her mother embarks on a new life without her. Forced to marry a Syrian man she loathes on sight, Suzan’s dreams are finally shattered: She will never return to England. Instead she gains a veil, a violent husband, and a cruel, nagging mother-in-law from whom there is little escape.
Discovering that her mother and brother have made a mysterious visit to London, and despite having no knowledge of Jigi’s whereabouts for nearly eighteen years, Suzan defies her mother’s warnings to stay out of the way and manages to obtain an address from her brother.
Suzan’s letter catches Jigi at a low ebb. In need of adventure, Jigi embarks on a roller-coaster trip, that will change her life forever. Surviving the Middle East’s suffocating heat and the relentless chaos of her newfound family, Jigi returns to London with a money belt stuffed to busting, vowing never to touch Arab soil again. But she does, again and again, compelled to do so by a reckless nature, and a truckload of unresolved family business.
When Suzan’s husband’s temper unintentionally kills his mother, and his cowboy antics put him in prison, Suzan takes to her prayer mat. Perhaps she will at last find peace in Islam? However, Jigi’s road to salvation takes a different course. Driven by her sense of rootlessness and overwhelming loneliness, Jigi searches for the only God she has ever known: a benevolent, but distant, entity she met briefly in Sunday School. During a particularly turbulent trip to Damascus, Jigi and Suzan finally come to terms with their separate destinies and together face the mother who abandoned them.
“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29 vs 11