When Hammoudi, a young surgeon based in Paris, returns to Syria to renew his passport, he only expects to stay there a few days. But the authorities refuse to let him leave and Hammoudi finds himself caught up in the fight against the regime. Meanwhile, budding actress Amal has also joined the protests against the government and her own father, by whom she feels betrayed. Realising that they will never again be safe in their homeland, Amal and her boyfriend Youssef decide to flee to Europe in a desperate bid to survive.
But the path to safety brings its own risks, and Amal and Youssef once again narrowly escape death when their overcrowded ship sinks. Eventually they reach Germany, but soon discover that in this new life – where they are perceived as nothing but refugees – their struggle is far from over.
City of Jasmine is an intimate and striking novel that offers real insight into the horrors and inhumanity of war, whilst also focusing on the humanity of the protagonists, marking Olga Grjasnowa as one of the most talented and admired young authors working in Germany today.