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Mornings In Jenin [Paperback]

Susan Abulhawa
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 26 2010
A heart-wrenching, powerfully written novel that could do for Palestine what The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan.

Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart, his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story, told as never before, through four generations of a single family.

The very precariousness of existence in the camps quickens life itself. Amal, the patriarch's bright granddaughter, feels this with certainty when she discovers the joys of young friendship and first love and especially when she loses her adored father, who read to her daily as a young girl in the quiet of the early dawn. Through Amal we get the stories of her twin brothers, one who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish; the other who sacrifices everything for the Palestinian cause. Amal’s own dramatic story threads between the major Palestinian-Israeli clashes of three decades; it is one of love and loss, of childhood, marriage, and parenthood, and finally of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.

Previously published in a hardcover edition with a limited run under the title The Scar of David, this powerful novel is now available in a fully revised, newly titled paperback edition. The deep and moving humanity of Mornings in Jenin forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining political conflicts of our lifetimes.

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Review

“In these lean times for the book industry, a second chance for a work of literary fiction is beyond fantastical—akin to seeing the Mona Lisa twitch. To resort to a quaint phrase from publishing days of yore, someone at Bloomsbury obviously believed in this book, and, politics aside for a moment, it's easy to see why. Abulhawa is a passionate writer whose limber, poetic style transports a reader deep inside the war-torn world she chronicles…. Melodramatic? Certainly. Polemical? Absolutely. But, Mornings in Jenin is also a terrifically affecting novel, thanks to Abulhawa's elegance as a writer. It's a novel to savor.”—Maureen Corrigan, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Abulhawa has created a compassionate, ground-level view of a Palestinian family caught in the heart-wrenching realities of life in the Middle East.”—Dianna Marder, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“In the acknowledgments to her novel Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury, February), Susan Abulhawa recalls being inspired by Edward Said’s lament “that the Palestinian narrative was lacking in literature.” Published as Scars of David in 2006, Abulhawa’s newly re-edited novel fills that gap, chronicling the development of the Jewish state and its consequences for local Arabs from a decidedly Palestinian perspective.”—Tablet: A New Read on Jewish Life

“In this richly detailed, beautiful and resonant novel examining the Palestinian and Jewish conflicts from the mid-20th century to 2002 … Abulhawa gives the terrible conflict a human face … [and] makes a great effort to empathize with all sides and tells an affecting and important story that succeeds as both literature and social commentary.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Audacious, no-holds-barred account of a Palestinian family’s suffering during 60 years of Israeli occupation … A potent debut.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Abulhawa’s debut novel is a powerful portrayal of what might be labeled the “other side” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the viewpoint of Palestinian refugees uprooted in 1948…. An intimate look at the refugee existence by a daughter of refugees.”—Booklist

Mornings in Jenin is a powerful and passionate insight into what many Palestinians have had to endure since the state of Israel was created. Susan Abulhawa guides us through traumatic events with anger and great tenderness too, creating unforgettable images of a world in which humanity and inhumanity, selflessness and selfishness, love and hate grow so close to each other.”—Michael Palin

Mornings in Jenin is a powerful and sensitive narrative that encapsulates the Palestinian experience with searing honesty and moving compassion. Susan Abulhawa displays linguistic and imaginative skills that single her out as a literary figure with tremendous promise… In both its specific Palestinian content and its larger human dimension, this novel is at once a challenge to complacency and ignorance as well as an affirmation of all that is enduring and valuable in the undefeated human spirit.”—Hanan Ashrawi, founder and Secretary General of the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH), and author of This Side of Peace: A Personal Account

“A powerful and heartbreaking book.”—Esther Freud

“The voice of Susan Abulhawa is honest, every word is heartfelt, the aim to honour history and acknowledge its facts. This book is a ‘tour’ waiting to take with it all kinds of readers: the already converted, the uninformed, and especially those who are fortunate enough to live secure lives.”—Hanan al-Shaykh

“I finished Susan Abulhawa’s novel last night. As I came to the end I could hardly bear to read it. But I did and I loved it ... what she’s done is that great Jane Eyre thing: here is my life, here is a life, from the very beginning to its very end; here is her family and her heart, her people and her land. You travel with her on every page.”—Carmen Callil

“I love Mornings in Jenin … It really is a great work—the epic novel the Palestinian tragedy has been waiting for.”— Robin Yassin-Kassab

 

About the Author

Susan Abulhawa was born to refugees of the Six Day War of 1967, and moved to the United States as a teenager. She is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, an NGO that builds playgrounds for Palestinian children in the occupied territories and refugee camps elsewhere. Abulhawa has contributed essays to the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, and Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications. Mornings in Jenin marks her first major publication as a novelist.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Feb. 20 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Susan managed to beautifully portray the years of suffering endured by the Palestinian people while adding the true essence of Palestinian heritage and the ever so enduring hope of their return back to their homes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the most heartfelt historic fictional novel Feb. 15 2014
By Myriam
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The most touching novel I have ever read. I never felt so moved, it reminds me of a thousand splendid suns by Khalid hussieni both such brilliant writers. I love the poetry, and the quotes of scholars integrated. The thing that got me the most was the personal stories, common stories of what people of Palestine went through. I felt I could really relate as a refugee from Afghanistan. Having my relatives and family going through very similar circumstances. I was always curious to know about the Palestinian and Israeli situation and this is the best wway to understand and relieve one of their false believes. To really feel, to read about what family/families, something we all have, go through. How much pain one inflicts losing a family member but this this novel is much more than that. Losing is a key word in this novel, ones self identity, home, family, friends, culture, tradition...
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4.0 out of 5 stars A should read May 28 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Palestinian Israeli conflict has always confused me. Who is right? This book let me see into the lives of one family and how it affected them.
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