Mornings in Jenin: Book summary and reviews of Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

Mornings in Jenin

A Novel

By Susan Abulhawa

Mornings in Jenin
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2010,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

Paperback Original. In the refugee camp of Jenin, Amal is born into a world of loss—loss of home, country, and heritage. Her Palestinian family was driven from their ancestral village by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948. As the villagers fled that day, Amal's older brother, just a baby then, was stolen away by an Israeli soldier. In Jenin, the adults subsist on memories, waiting to return to the homes they love. Amal's mother has walled away her heart with grief, and her father labors all day. But in the fleeting peacefulness of dawn, he reads to his young daughter daily, and she can feel his love for her, "as big as the ocean and all its fishes." In those quiet mornings, they dream together of a brighter future.

This is Amal's story, the story of one family's struggle and survival through over sixty years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, carrying us from Jenin to Jerusalem, to Lebanon and the anonymity of America. It is a story shaped by loss, by scars and fear, but also by the transformative intimacy of marriage and the fierce protectiveness of motherhood. It is a story of faith, forgiveness, and of life-sustaining love.

Mornings in Jenin is haunting and heart-wrenching, a novel of vital contemporary importance. Lending human voices to the headlines, it forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining political conflicts of our lifetimes.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. 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." - Publishers Weekly

"Audacious, no-holds-barred account of a Palestinian family's suffering during 60 years of Israeli occupation. ... A potent debut." - Kirkus Reviews

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Previously published in a hardcover edition with a limited run under the title The Scar of David, this novel has been released in a fully revised, newly titled paperback edition.

Susan Abulhawa was born to refugees of the Six Day War of 1967 and moved to the United States as a teenager. She is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, an NGO that builds playgrounds for Palestinian children in the occupied territories and in refugee camps elsewhere. Abulhawa has contributed essays to the New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications. Mornings in Jenin marks her first major publication as a novelist.

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