Seeking Palestine: New Palestinian Writing on Exile and Home

Edited by Penny Johnson and Raja Shehadeh. Interlink/Olive Branch, $16 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-56656-906-4
Editors Johnson and Shehadeh bring together 15 Palestinian writers and artists, some famous and others relative unknowns, to share their impressions of and reflections on the “quandaries of exile and unrequited homesickness... the quintessential Palestinian experience, both actual and symbolic.” Deeply personal and more poetic than academic, these contributions (emerging from a Palestinian literary festival) explore the consequences of embracing an identity where “home is forbidden from being home.” While the authors come from a variety of backgrounds, they are largely Western-educated, secularly minded, progressive, and affiliated with universities. The Jewish inhabitants of Palestine are mostly invisible save for a few disconcerting moments of casual racism: Rema Hammami professes herself “horrified” to come across Israelis buying yogurt at her East Jerusalem grocery after the thaw in relations in 1994. Meanwhile, Rana Barakat describes Palestine as “an idea, a love, a goal, a movement, a massacre, a march, a parade, a poem, a thesis, a novel and, yes, a commodity, as well as a people scattered, displaced, dispossessed and determined.” (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/29/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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