Journey Through Palestine with These Authors
Our literary journey for the year starts in Palestine. The ongoing humanitarian crises are a ripple effect of years of conflict that has been heavily documented in Palestinian literature, however, these are not the only stories to be written about Palestine. Here are 8 Books written by Palestine Women including a children’s book that brings the Palestine rich heritage to life, a cookbook that celebrates Palestinian cuisine, and more!
Minor Detail by Adania Shibli
Minor Detail explores the piercing reality of occupied Palestine from two divergent narratives, the first an impassive account of an officer involved in the 1949 gang rape and murder of a young Palestinian girl by Isaereli soldiers in the Negev desert and the second, an account of an unnamed girl a decade later coming across the horrific news of the 1949 tragedy and going on a journey to right history's wrongs, and tell the story from the victim's point of view.
Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa
Against the Loveless, World chronicles the life and choices of Nahr, a young Palestinian girl born to immigrant parents in Kuwait. To Nahr, Kuwait is home as she has no desire to inherit her ancestral trauma, but fate is a cruel thing.
After a failed marriage, her life spirals, pushing her to make difficult decisions to take care of herself and her family, when the United States invade Iraq, she and her family become refugees and in the long run find themselves in a home country she barely knows. The life she builds with her family in Palestine is cut short when Israel strikes, as the story unfolds, Nahr is sat in solitary confinement going over the choices she made that led to her imprisonment.
Mother of Strangers by Suad Amiry
In the bustling port city of Jaffa, with its busy markets, famous orange grooves, and hillside cafes looking over the Mediterranean Sea, Suad Amiry weaves historical romance, a collection of unforgettable characters in yet an unsettling tale of the beginning of the end of Palestine. Based on the true story of a boy named Subhi and the girl he hopes to marry one day, Shams, Amiry writes about the 1947-1951 indiscriminate bombings of Jaffa, how it displaces the lovers, their families and irrevocably changes the image of this city and the lives of its people forever.
The Parisian by Isabella Hammad
This ambitious debut takes us way back in the history of Palestine, from the end of the Ottoman Empire, the First World War, British rule, and the mass migration of Jews to Palestine. The book starts off with the protagonist on a ship bound for France to study medicine. While in France, he is greatly steeped in the French culture and finds himself in love with the daughter of his host, a love story that painfully leaves the reader yearning for the rest of the book, yet in this, Hammad’s focus lies in the protagonist's personal conflicT, torn between two cultures, one which he has grown to love and adopt, a culture belonging to the oppressors of his people.
As he moves back to European-occupied Nablus, known today as West Bank, he is taken aback by the city’s division not only in social class but strong politics as well. As his home country falls to the preoccupation, he continues to battle his own internal conflicts, drawing parallels from the small details that upheave an individual's life and the political atmosphere that upheaves that of a nation.
Baba, What Does my Name Mean? by Rifk Edeid
Little refugee girl Saamidah wants to know the meaning of her name, and in her father's response, the reader is taken on the most colourful adventure that brings to life the richness of her heritage and a home she hopes to return to someday.
The Woman from Tantoura by Radwa Ashour
Now at 70 years old, Ruqayya looks back at a long life in exile, having fled her village as it was claimed by Nakba. When her son asks her to tell her story, we get a moving account of pain and suffering, of displacement and loss and grief and survival, yet through it all Ruqayya has raised a family of children and grandchildren, an aspect of her story that gives the reader comfort. An earnest personal account through the tortuous reality of the Middle East.
Velvet - Huzama Habayeb
In Velvet, the political sphere of Palestine takes a back seat, giving way to the ordinary day-to-day of Palestine lives. We are drawn into the life of Hawwa, a young woman living the hard life of a refugee with a traumatic childhood and an abusive family. Hawwa finds purpose and a sort of mentee-friendship when she starts working as an apprentice for a widowed tailor whose life she admires. Hawwa also finds love but inevitably ends up in a violent unhappy marriage with someone else, in the marriage, motherhood offers her little and takes a lot. The book’s narrative continues to spin bits and pieces of Hawwa’s rollercoaster life and experiences.
Craving Palestine by Farrah Abuasad, Lama Bazzari, Fadi Kattan
U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Mohamed Hadid (father to supermodels Bell & Gigi Hadid) and others team up with Abusad, Bazzai, and Kattan to curate and discuss 100 Palestinian recipes bringing a taste of Palestine to the world. From traditional meals to modern reinterpretations, these delightful recipes take the reader through Palestine in a much different way.