Mornings in Jenin A novel

Susan Abulhawa

Book - 2010

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Historical fiction
New York : Bloomsbury c2010.
1st U.S. ed
Item Description
Previously published in 2006 under title: The scar of David.
Physical Description
xiii, 331 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
Includes bibliographical references (p. 331).
Main Author
Susan Abulhawa (-)
Review by Booklist Review

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, when Israel became a state. Such as the Abulheja family, who were forced from the village of Ein Hod to a refugee camp in Jenin. We meet twin brothers Ismael, who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish, and Yousef, who becomes filled with hatred and joins the PLO. Through the eyes of Amal, their sister born in Jenin in 1955, we travel through three decades of conflict, starting in June 1967 and the Six Days' War, during which Jenin is bombed. So begins the military occupation that rules their lives. Amal is sent to an orphanage for Palestinian refugees in Jerusalem in 1969 and later receives a scholarship to Temple University in Philadelphia. Finally, Amal returns to Jenin in 2002 with her daughter to show her the one-square-kilometer patch of earth where she grew up. An intimate look at the refugee existence by a daughter of refugees.--Donovan, Deborah Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this richly detailed, beautiful and resonant novel examining the Palestinian and Jewish conflicts from the mid-20th century to 2002, (originally published as The Scar of David in 2006, and now republished after a new edit), Abulhawa gives the terrible conflict a human face. The tale opens with Amal staring down the barrel of a soldier's gun-and moves backward to present the history that preceded that moment. In 1941 Palestine, Amal's grandparents are living on an olive farm in the village of Ein Hod. Their oldest son, Hasan, is best friends with a refugee Jewish boy, Ari Perlstein as WWII rages elsewhere. But in May 1948, the Jewish state of Israel is proclaimed, and Ein Hod, founded in 1189 C.E., "was cleared of its Palestinian children..." and the residents moved to Jenin refugee camp, where Amal is born. Through her eyes we experience the indignities and sufferings of the Palestinian refugees and also friendship and love. Abulhawa makes a great effort to empathize with all sides and tells an affecting and important story that succeeds as both literature and social commentary. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

Audacious, no-holds-barred account of a Palestinian family's suffering during 60 years of Israeli occupation. In 1948, Yehya Abulheja, prosperous farmer and patriarch of a family that for 40 generations has occupied Ein Hod, a village near Mount Carmel, worries only about the coming olive harvest and his son Hasan's marriage to an unsuitable Bedouin girl, Dalia. All is forgiven when Dalia bears sons Yousef and Ismael. Dismissing rumors that Jewish immigrants plan to establish their own state, annexing Palestinian lands, the Abulhejas are stunned when Ein Hod is shelled and its residents herded into a refugee camp at Jenin. During the forcible eviction, baby Ismael is snatched by an Israeli soldier desperate to help his despondent wife, a Holocaust survivor rendered sterile after repeated rapes by the SS. The couple renames the child David. Hasan and Dalia's daughter Amal, Abulhawa's protagonist, is born in Jenin. Ismael's kidnapping has cost Dalia her sanity; Yehya is shot for trespassing on his former land; and Hasan disappears during the Six Day War in 1967. Yousef encounters David, an Israeli soldier whose facial scar resembles Ismael's. After repeated beatings and torture by Israeli soldiers, including David, Yousef joins the PLO resistance fighters. Following Dalia's death, Amal's scholarly bent propels her from a Jerusalem orphanage/school to college in Philadelphia. She reunites with Yousef, his bride Fatima and their daughter Falasteen in Shatila, a Lebanese refugee enclave, where she teaches Palestinian children, marries Majid, a young doctor, and becomes pregnant. As Israel's attacks on Lebanon mount, Amal returns to the States, intending to arrange for her family to follow. Soon, though, Majid perishes in the bombardment of Beirut and Fatima and Falasteen are slaughtered by the invaders. Yousef, a suspected terrorist, vanishes. In a fog of grief, Amal struggles to nurture her infant daughter, Sara. David reaches out in remorse to Amal, and a precarious healing begins. A potent debut. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.