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Mornings in Jenin: A Novel Paperback – Feb 2 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 Reprint edition (Feb. 2 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608190463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608190461
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2.6 x 20.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Myriam on Feb. 15 2014
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rola Pyper on July 23 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an eye opener. It is a poignant story of love and loss and war and humanity. As a Palestinian, it hit a place in my heart like no other book has. Loaded with history and emotion it gives a voice to a people that have not been heard by the world. The book is honest in its pain and tells a story the world needs to here - the story of the Holocaust that has been and still is being perpetrated against the Palestinian people. I recommend this book to anybody who wants to know more about the real history of the Palestinian people as well as anyone looking for a riveting and page-turning read.
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Format: Paperback
The village of Ein Hod in north Palestine, where this novel opens in the 1940s, has been an olive growing community for centuries. The Abulheja family is part of that community which is shattered in 1948 as a consequence of the founding of the state of Israel.

This is a novel, in a particularly volatile setting where two peoples cannot agree on how to share a homeland that both of them claim. This is a novel about the experiences of a family dispossessed, in order to establish:
`A land without a people for a people without a land.'
But it is a novel, not a biographical history, and as a novel it does not succeed completely.

The main character is Amal, a daughter born in the Jenin refugee camp during the 1960s. Amal's knowledge of life in Ein Hod is indirect, but keenly appreciated as part of her heritage. The early part of the novel, about her grandparents and parents, is the strongest part of the story. Characters and situations come to life, the sense of family and cultural continuity is strong. As a consequence the pain felt when the family is displaced and dispossessed in 1948 is clearly understood. The events of 1967 and 1982 reinforce the continuing tragedy for Amal and members of her family.

But, for me, the novel became less engaging after Amal moves to America. Here the novel changes, it seems, into an historical account of events. The characters we've been following become indistinct as events are described rather than experienced. The horror of the situation becomes blunted as it becomes increasingly more impersonal - until towards the end of the story.
In summary, I'm pleased I read this novel even though the subject matter is uncomfortable and the conflict continues.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Format: Paperback
This is the story of four generations of a Palestinian family, set mainly in the West Bank and the United States, from 1941 to 1982. It's told from the perspective of a woman born in the Jenin refugee camp in 1955, who is given an opportunity for schooling away from her family, and who subsequently moves back and forth between America and the Middle East. We don't often get to hear the world described by Palestinian voices. You get to know Abdulhawa's characters well - their love for, and fierce protection of, family and community; and the seemingly endless losses and hardships in their lives, which North Americans and Europeans have so little to compare with. The writing is good, on the whole - the characters come to life on the page, and the history is presented well, from multiple perspectives. It could have been edited more tightly - she lapses into some very strange, mixed metaphors at times. They distracted me from an otherwise a moving and engaging story, which dropped my rating to four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Oliver Théorêt on June 1 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is a real mind opener. The world might be a better place if the schools used both The Diary of Anne Frank and Mornings in Jenin as part of their curriculum at the end of high school.
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By mlap on May 29 2014
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A story that needs to be told. Unbelievable that we as Canadians and Americans did next to nothing while this atrocity was allowed to happen. And that Jews who were persecuted by the Germans could do the same to the Palestinians.
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