Dreaming of Palestine is a work of astonishing insight that takes us into the hearts and lives of a group of young people caught up in the Palestinian drive for independence.
Writing in a passionate blend of poetry and prose, fifteen-year-old first-time novelist Randa Ghazy creates a convincing portrait of a group of friends who have grown up surrounded by fighting and know no world other than one with war or at least the threat of it. With eloquence and sensitivity, Ghazy creates a portrait of life in the Middle East that alternates the horrors of living amid war with the experiences of life-altering friendships, growing-up, falling in love, and dreaming of the future. Ibrahim, Nedal, Ramy, Mohammad, Ahmed, Gihad, Riham, and Uilad are characters with whom we can identify, even as they are experiencing the unimaginable.
Imagining the day-to-day experience of the Arab-Israeli conflict from a Palestinian perspective, Ghazy presents us with a world in which misery, frustration, and a sense of duty are ever-present, but in which hope continues to exist. Refusing to mince words, the book includes occasional passages of harsh language and depicts grim events that are meant to express the sentiments and realities of a population that the author believes to be underrepresented. By boldly depicting a sometimes shocking reality, Dreaming of Palestine underscores the importance of balancing thought with feeling, and loyalty with sympathy, making it clear that support for Israel and support for Palestine are not mutually exclusive.
Dreaming of Palestine bravely addresses a field of issues and feelings into which many writers would not even venture, and it comes at a time when maintaining freedom of speech is especially important. A novel that demands reflection, the book gives voice to the voiceless, while offering itself as a launching pad for dialogue and debate. With the confidence and eloquence of a mature novelist, the young Ghazy offers a story that might astonish readers with its intensity, but offers hope.
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Ghazy's maddeningly repetitive style shifts for no apparent reason between attempts at free-form poetry and hyperbolic prose: "Going back in the butcher shop, Ibrahim thought again/ about that short red hair/ short red/ short red/ And poor Sarah in love/ And poor Ramy in love/ About Ramy/ And tha...| Read Full Review of Dreaming of Palestine
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