22 September 2017

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa - Book Review

 Mornings in Jenin is a deep and heartbreaking novel that I can only compare to Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. It's a historical novel and the story of a fictional (but real) family, which means I couldn't help but love it. From the first page, it's full of suspense and that's why I loved it from beginning to end.

The book is about the history of the Abulheja, a family from the rural Palestinian village of 'Ain Hod. Dalia, the daughter of Yehya and Bassima, and the most beautiful girl of the village, is married to Hasan. She gives birth to two sons, Yussef and Ismail, reaching her dream of a happy family. But in 1948, her village is invaded by Zionists who claim their right on the land and are forced to move to Jenin, completely disrupting the family's life and that of her fellow citizens. In Jenin, Amal is born and with her, new hopes for the future. After a simple childhood spent with her brother Yussef and her best friend Huda, a new war breaks out in 1967, and Amal's life is completely overturned. Soon, she has to leave to Jerusalem and later to Philadelphia, in the US, where she starts a new and very different life.

I wish I could share more spoilers on the novel, but it would honestly ruin your reading experience as the book is full of plot twists and unexpected setbacks. All I can say is this is a very intense book (in a good way), and a heartbreaking one, but nonetheless a wonderful story worth reading. Not only is it informative on the history of Palestine and Israel from a fairly objective experience (there are Israeli characters as well, and none of them is dehumanized for their acts), but it is a solid, well-written story that will leave a mark.

My edition: Susan Abulhawa, 2010. Mornings in Jenin. Milano: Feltrinelli.

Goodreads: 5/5 stars.

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