By Susan Abdulhawa, Bloomsbury USA, Paperback, 352 pages
Mornings in Jenin is a multi-generational story about a Palestinian family. Forcibly removed from the olive-farming village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejos are displaced to live in canvas tents in the Jenin refugee camp.
We follow the Abulhejo family as they live through a half-century of violent history.
Amidst the loss and fear, hatred and pain, as their tents are replaced by more forebodingly permanent cinderblock huts, there is always the waiting, waiting to return to a lost home.
The novel's voice is that of Amal, the granddaughter of the old village patriarch, a bright, sensitive girl who makes it out of the camps, only to return years later, to marry and bear a child. Through her eyes, with her evolving vision, we get the story of her brothers, one who is kidnapped to be raised Jewish, one who will end with bombs strapped to his middle.
But of the many interwoven stories, stretching backward and forward in time, none is more important than Amal's own. Her story is one of love and loss, of childhood and marriage and parenthood, and finally the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.
Mornings in Jeninis a deeply human novel - a novel of history, identity, friendship, love, terrorism, surrender, courage, and hope. Its power forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining issues of our lifetimes.
About the author:
Susan Abdulhawa was born to refugees of the 1967 war when Israel captured what remained of Palestine, including Jerusalem. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her daughter. She is the founder and President of Playgrounds for Palestine, a children’s organization dedicated to upholding The Right to Play for Palestinian children. Her debut novel, Mornings in Jenin, was an international bestseller, translated into 30 languages.
The reach of her books and the volume of her readership have made Abulhawa one of the most widely read Arab authors in the world. Her latest novel, Against the Loveless World, is out August 25, 2020.