BookBrowse Reviews The Collaborator of Bethlehem by Matt Beynon Rees

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The Collaborator of Bethlehem

An Omar Yussef Mystery

by Matt Beynon Rees

The Collaborator of Bethlehem
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2007, 272 pages
    Jan 2008, 272 pages

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An outstanding crime fiction debut set in modern-day Bethlehem

Set in Bethlehem in the early 2000s, Matt Beynon Rees's first novel depicts a city under siege by the Israelis and torn from within by gun-wielding gangs that extort money from businesses and control local politics. Set against the backdrop of real events and inspired by real people, the story hinges on Omar Yussef, a 56-year old Palestinian teacher from a well respected but not particularly wealthy or influential clan. Yussef is an honorable man who questions the way society is deteriorating around him and maintains his intelligence and decency even when others around him descend into hatred.

Yussef used to teach history at an international school but now teaches at the U.N. girls school in the squalid Dheisheh refugee camp. Long ago, he dreamed of leaving a legacy behind him in the form of the young minds...

Welsh-born Journalist and author Matt Beynon Rees has covered the Middle East for over a decade from his home in Jerusalem, following six years as a financial journalist in New York. The Collaborator of Bethlehem is his first novel following Cain's Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East (2004).

Rees arrived in Jerusalem at a time of relative peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and was therefore able to focus his reporting on the internal conflicts within the two societies. He points out that, "Dissatisfaction with the way their society is run is very much how ordinary Palestinians feel. They don't always express it to foreign correspondents, because they're eager to vent their frustrations about Israel and the journalists are usually keener to hear that (because their ...

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