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Mornings in Jenin
Cover of Mornings in Jenin
Mornings in Jenin
A Novel
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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...
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...
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  • 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.

    Set against one of the twentieth century's most intractable political conflicts, Mornings in Jenin is 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 conflicts of our lifetimes.

About the Author-

  • Susan Abulhawa was born to refugees of the Six Day War of 1967, and moved to the United States as a teenager. In 2001, she founded Playgrounds for Palestine, Inc., to build playgrounds for children in occupied territories. A biologist, mother, and activist, Susan has contributed essays to the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, and Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications. Mornings in Jenin, her first novel, was published in a hardcover edition by Journey Publications in 2006 under the title The Scar of David, but fell out of print. It will now be widely available for the first time, in a fully revised edition. Her Web site is scarofdavid.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 26, 2009
    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.

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2009
    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 (2009) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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