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Touch Paperback – Mar 1 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Interlink Pub Group; 1 edition (March 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566568072
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566568074
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 14 x 0.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #476,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A hauntingly beautiful novella about a young girl in Palestine Aug. 22 2010
By Darryl R. Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Adania Shibli is a Palestinian author who was recently recognized at the Hay Beirut39 Literature Festival, which featured 39 Arab authors under 39 years of age. An accomplished novelist and writer of short stories and essays, she has recently completed a PhD at the University of East London.

"Touch" is a novella about a young Palestinian girl, which consists of five themed sections of prose poetry: colors, silence, movement, language, and the wall. Although tragedy, sadness and isolation are present throughout the narrative, there are only a couple of fleeting references to the Palestinian struggle, which seemingly have little if any impact on the life of the girl. The writing is beautiful and evocative, and this slim book is best read slowly, attentively and repeatedly for fuller enjoyment and appreciation.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating and insightful novella, not to be missed July 15 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When you live in a persistent warzone, every day is a new challenge. "Touch" is a novella following a young girl in modern Palestine, as she faces life's challenges as he world continues to rage on around her. From the simple processes of life to the constant tragedies, "Touch" proves to be a fascinating and insightful novella, not to be missed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Like a pouch of snapshots Nov. 30 2010
By emmejay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like a pouch of snapshots dropped and scattered, the 33 vignettes in this very short novella about a young Palestinian girl rely on the reader to put them in order and make meaning. Their spareness is riveting, and Shibli's language (with Paula Haydar's translation from the Arabic) is extraordinary, opening the mind and seeding the subconscious to bring forth details and a story beyond what is written on the page (for me, reminiscent of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying). I loved it and about half-understood it; I so look forward to reading it again.
Worth the Time and Attention Required Aug. 11 2015
By C. Clemens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The novel’s title is perfect as it reflects the sensory element of the novel and the writing style. The book is organized by the senses and how we make sense of them. The chapters–“colors,” “silence,” “movement,” “language”–reflect several senses: sight, hearing, and most importantly, touch. The final chapter, “the wall,” is one page and breaks from the sensory theme, just as the main character must break from her world.

The short, one-syllable title does not boast a majuscule “T.” The novel is almost as short as its title. Each section within the chapter is short, loaded. Reader, do not be deceived: though this novel (really novella) is only 72 pages, it does not read quickly. The writing is as sparse as the title. The book leaves us with a desire to find solid footing and cannot be rushed.

touch tells the story of a young girl in Palestine. She earns no name in the book. Her anonymity lends her a universal quality as she comes of age during a time of strife and struggle. The reader experiences her world through the senses, and only through them do we learn of the actions that occur in her world, the most important of which are the death of her brother and falling in love. The entire book is suffused with longing for connection, one that will not come to her (hence the final separation in the final chapter “the wall). Her senses deny her any satisfaction. For example, she wishes to hear her brother’s voice after an ambulance delivers his dead body to their home: “The little girl listened very closely to the dead brother, but silence was all there was of him, forever” (23). There is no movement in her world after his death: “The sky had not changed its silence or its shape or its position after the brother’s soul rose up to it” (43). As she tries to find her voice, she can only piece together stories from what she overhears the rest of her family saying. She catches the phrase “Sabra and Shatila,” an event that I had to learn about along with her as I am embarrassed to admit I had never heard of this massacre.

Reading this novel is a raw experience and takes time and patience, though in the end the investment is worth it. Shibli’s novel earned such attention because of her ability to write the story of a young girl trying to grow up in a tumultuous and unwelcoming environment. The girl feels separated from her world, her family, her love, and her voice. This disconnect makes it challenging to sit with the novel for more than a few pages at a time, and there is no neat ending that satisfies our hopes for the girl we come to care about, even if we do not know her name.

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