Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

I finished this book last night, and the sadness has been following me throughout the day. Like it has been saddening me for the last month I have been reading it. A month, yes, because this is not a book that you can read quickly, it is painful, it almost breaks you, I had to take pauses from it for a little while, just to find the courage to read it again.
 Throughout the book I was trying to convince myself that after all this was fictional book and, as much as you can empathize with the characters, you could still try to detach from them. But the truth is that you actually can’t, because you somehow know that the characters might have fictional names, that the episodes might not have happened in that order, or in that precise way but you deeply know that this is all true, and this has all sadly happened, and I am afraid it is still, somewhere in the corner of Palestine...
And if you wanted to keep still a doubt to clear a bit your conscience, the writer will strongly clarify her position at the end of the book, and trust me I am doing you a favour by telling you this now, that the book might be fictional but Jenin is not!

We are, of course, in Palestine and the story set place in a simple family with a normal life, until war knocks at their door and ruin everything and everyone. They will find themselves to be refugee from one day to another, without having the time to think and to realize. The book spares you nothing, from the kidnapping to the torture, it will bring you straight there, in an enduring fight for survival. How the singular personalities will survive and shape is the key of the book, no one will possible be still the same and their relationship evolve and involve all the time during the reading.
A book which I found, after all, being still full of love and hope.

People often ask me why I do this to myself, why I feel I have to read what is going on around the world when reading should be primarily a pleasure and a distraction? It is difficult to give a satisfying answer to this, because it is something that I need to do, to not let the scream of humanity to be unheard.

“I know she is crying. Her tears fall on the wrong side, into the bottomless well inside her.”

P.s. another good read on the topic is this.

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