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Mornings in Jenin (2006)

by Susan Abulhawa

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1,0456719,513 (4.01)150
Mornings in Jenin is a multigenerational 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. Amid 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 of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has. Set against one of the 20th 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.… (more)
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» See also 150 mentions

English (60)  Italian (3)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
I had a hard time with the writing style and it got in the way of the story. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
This is a brave, heartbreaking story of a nation told through tales of ordinary lives living in extraordinary circumstances. It's also an honest portrayal of love in spite of heartache and loss, of perseverance and strength in spite of oppression.

This is not one of those stories than end happily, especially since the never-ending trauma and struggles of Palestinians continue to this day...the tragedy still too raw. This book is a must-read for everyone. ( )
  nadia.masood | Dec 10, 2023 |
It is a story of love and pain: love of the little girl Amal for her father in the early mornings on the roof of their house in the Palestine village of Ein Hod, cuddled up to him listening to his voice reading poems, smelling his pipe and watching the sun rise, love between the adolescent friends who spend any free minute together exchanging secrets, love between brother and sister, love evoked by smells of plants, blossoms fruits, the sun-baked earth and spices rising from shared dishes, the hot earth and stones under bare feet, blossoming love between woman and man, mother and newborn, …, love pierced by bullets, torn apart by bombs, scarred, imprisoned, surrounded by watchtowers, paths blocked by guards becoming unreachable dreams resolved only in death. „A story of one family in an obscure village, visited one day by a history that was not its own, and forever trapped by longing between roots and soil. A tale of war, its chilling, burning, and chilling-again fire. […] Of grown children sifting through the madness to find their relevance. Of a truth that pushed its way through lies, emerging from a crack, a scar, in a man’s face.“ (285)

The tale is narrated in different voices, Palestinian mainly but also Ali, a jewish immigrant, whose family fled from Nazi-Germany. Hasan, father of Amal, and Ali had met as boys in 1937 in Jerusalem and became friends: „Thus [reading, sharing a tomato] a friendship had been born in the shadow of Nazism in Europe and in the growing divide between Arab and Jew at home, and it had been consolidated in the innocence of their twelve years, the poetic solitude of books, and their disinterest in politics.“ (9)
Would such friendship be possible after the 1948 Nakba or any time after? today? perhaps between Arab and Israeli members of the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra?

And: „Palestinians paid the price for the Jewish holocaust.“ (273) Will this deadly conflict ever be resolved? It does not look like it with an Israeli government of the extreme Right in power, their policy of annexation of the occupied West Bank through ever more illegal Jewish settlements. A two-state solution is long dead. Israel today is an apartheid-state, practically keeping the Palestinian population imprisoned.

I did not take to the language of the first part of the book; towards the end the language much improves in my view - the quotations above give a hint of this. This should not put you off reading and discussing the many questions raised. Helpful suggestions how to begin are given at the end of the book. (I-23) 3+1/2 * ( )
  MeisterPfriem | Jan 31, 2023 |
Bellissimo e indimenticabile.
Leggere questo libro è stata un'esperienza incredibile sotto tutti i punti di vista e mi ha colpito nel profondo come non avrei mai pensato possibile.
È il racconto delle vicissitudini di quattro generazioni di una famiglia araba, gli Abulheja, narrate a partire dal 1948 in parallelo alla vera storia della Palestina, dal momento in cui verranno costretti con la forza ad abbandonare la loro casa ad ‘Ain Hod per essere trasferiti nel campo profughi di Jenin.
Un racconto duro e straziante ma al tempo stesso dolce, tenero e nostalgico, scevro comunque da qualsiasi acrimonia e recriminazione ma che ti fa entrare a viva forza in una realtà terribile e difficilissima, finora solo immaginata, ma che adesso queste parole hanno invece reso quasi tangibile.
Ci sono pagine che non potrò dimenticare, che ho letto con difficoltà perché la commozione e quello che sentivo mi impedivano di andare avanti, ci sono immagini che si sono create nella mia mente che non si cancelleranno, ci sono parole e frasi lette che risveglieranno ricordi e c'è la convinzione che quello che viene narrato è la realtà di quanto è successo. E poi ci sono le mille domanda che sorgono spontanee durante la lettura, una su tutte continua rigirare nella mia testa: ma com’è possibile che persone che hanno subito l’infamia dell’Olocausto possano dimenticare così in fretta quello che hanno subito e passare senza alcuna remora dal ruolo di vittime a quello di torturatori? La mente umana è così facile a dimenticare le sofferenze pur di raggiungere un fine, peraltro, in questo caso, alquanto discutibile nella sua legittimità?
Un libro che, oserei dire, andrebbe letto obbligatoriamente anche solo per farci capire quanto grande è la fortuna di nascere in un posto piuttosto che in un altro. ( )
  Raffaella10 | Jan 28, 2023 |
A rarely told Palestinian story (though perhaps more of their stories have been told since this was written). Heartbreaking on two levels especially, what these people experienced, and that they experienced it at the hands of people who one would hope and wish had kept bloodless hands. There is no denial in this novel that the Palestinians have blood on their hands too.

Abulhawa witnessed some of these events, and witnessed the denial of them by the UN and others. Knowing there would be denial of the contents of her novel, she quoted from the works of respected historians in a few areas. But this is a novel, a story of one family and their neighbours and friends.

It wrung my heart at the end when one young Palestinian is given a visa to study in the US, and writes home to say that he can't believe what life is like living somewhere there is no war. At the current time, we too should be remembering this. But then there is always war somewhere, and many of those wars go unacknowledged by those of us in safety. ( )
1 vote Caroline_McElwee | Apr 2, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
The everyday life of cramped conditions, poverty, restriction, and the fear of soldiers, guns, checkpoints and beatings, would have been enough to make the novel unforgettable, but Abulhawa's writing also shines, at best assured and unsentimental.
 
Mornings in Jenin (Susan Abulhawa)
This book is the story of Amal Abulheja and her family spanning 54 years. It starts in 1948 when the family is removed from their home in Ein Hod and forced to live as refugees in Jenin. It is a tragic tale of war and loss, yet is also a story of family bonding, love and dedication.

Amal goes through war and conflict between Palestine (Muslims) and Israel (Jewish). She is a strong proud woman, with tragedy following her. The vivid detail of war and terror is heart felt and grabbed me by the heart. It is difficult for one to imagine to live as refuges, with curfews and fear, bombs gunfire and death. The graphic detail of the treatment of the refuges, especially the children was heart wrenching. All the lives lost is saddening. This story left an impression. One that makes me want peace within the world, more than ever before. How this will happen, I have no clue.

I admit I know little of the conflict between Palestine & Israel and I suppose most of the world does not understand, nor know as well. (I could be wrong, but it is my opinion). I found this an unforgettable read. I highly recommend Mornings In Jenin and would love to read more by Ms. Abulhawa.
added by SheriAWilkinson | editPrinceton, Il., Sheri A Wilkinson (Dec 13, 1901)
 
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For Natalie, and for Seif
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Amal wanted a closer look into the soldier's eyes, but the muzzle of his automatic rifle, pressed against her forehead, would not allow it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Mornings in Jenin was also published as The Scar of David.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Mornings in Jenin is a multigenerational 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. Amid 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 of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has. Set against one of the 20th 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.

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Four generations of a Palestinian family struggle to survive during more than sixty years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, finding themselves on both sides of the fighting.
Við stofnun Ísraelsríkis 1948 er palestínsk fjölskylda hrakin úr þorpinu þar sem ættin hefur búið öldum saman og í kjölfarið finnur hún sér hæli í flóttamannabúðunum í Jenín. Á leiðinni hverfur eitt barnanna, ungur drengur sem elst upp í gyðingdómi, en bróðir hans fórnar öllu fyrir málstað Palestínumanna. Systirin Amal flyst til Bandaríkjanna en snýr aftur og kynnist ást, missi og hefndarþorsta. Saga fjölskyldunnar er saga palestínsku þjóðarinnar, flóttamanna í sextíu ár – einlæg og mannleg frásögn sem oft hefur verið líkt við Flugdrekahlauparann.Susan Abulhawa er sjálf barn palestínskra flóttamanna en fluttist til Bandaríkjanna á unglingsárum. Bókin, sem bregður nýju ljósi á deilurnar við botn Miðjarðarhafs, hefur þegar vakið mikla athygli og verið gefin út í fjölmörgum löndum.
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