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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Susan Abulhawa – Mornings in Jenin

Review by showhost
The characters are fictitious but the history and events are not.  If you enjoyed the Kite runner and A Thousand splendid suns then read this - similar but based in Palestine not Afghanistan.
It begins in a small village, east of Haifa, which was then in Palestine but is now in Israel.  The villagers are farmers of figs and olive trees as their families have been for over 400 years.  It’s 1941 and the war in Europe is raging.  We follow the family of Hassan.  His friendship with Ari, a Jewish boy he had become friends with in 1937 when his family had fled germany and rented a home in Palestine.  They were both 12 years old then.
Zionist had begun killing Palestinians and British in sniper attacks but by 1947 it was getting worse.  Jewish refugees were flooding in and the Zionist recruiting and strengthening their army.  The Zionist are backed by the UN and America to take land to call their Homeland – to take Palestine “a land without people”.
There are anti-zionist among the Jewish people and many felt it wrong what they were doing but they needed a country to belong to, especially after the atrocities endured in the Holocaust.  Once the British pull out the land is taken over and for those people life will never be the same again.
Reading this book made me aware of events that I never knew about and answers some questions as to why the conflict exists out there and what drives them.  Yes, it was written by a Palestinian so it would lean in their favour and she doesn't dwell on the atrocities they might have done in retaliation but a story that had to be told.

As Michael Palin wrote “this is a powerful & passionate novel”.  

It is and it will make you think long after you have finished dreading it.  I definitely recommend reading this book and it would make a very good discussion for book groups.

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