My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness by Adina Hoffman
A Poet's Life in the Palestinian Century

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Synopsis

Beautifully written, and composed with a novelist’s eye for detail, this book tells the story of an exceptional man and the culture from which he emerged.

 

Taha Muhammad Ali was born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriyya and was forced to flee during the war in 1948. He traveled on foot to Lebanon and returned a year later to find his village destroyed. An autodidact, he has since run a souvenir shop in Nazareth, at the same time evolving into what National Book Critics Circle Award–winner Eliot Weinberger has dubbed “perhaps the most accessible and delightful poet alive today.”

 

As it places Muhammad Ali’s life in the context of the lives of his predecessors and peers, My Happiness offers a sweeping depiction of a charged and fateful epoch. It is a work that Arabic scholar Michael Sells describes as “among the five ‘must read’ books on the Israel-Palestine tragedy.” In an era when talk of the “Clash of Civilizations” dominates, this biography offers something else entirely: a view of the people and culture of the Middle East that is rich, nuanced, and, above all else, deeply human.

 

About Adina Hoffman

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Adina Hoffman is the author of House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Nation, the Washington Post, the Times Literary Supplement, and other publications. She lives in Jerusalem.
 
Published April 2, 2009 by Yale University Press. 464 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness

Kirkus Reviews

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The life and incendiary times of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali, a secular Muslim and autodidact who lives in Israel, runs a souvenir shop in Nazareth and has somehow achieved and maintained an ecumenical, humane philosophy.

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The New York Times

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The life and times of Taha Muhammad Ali, a gruff, working-class Palestinian poet whose work is less overtly political than that of some of his better-known peers.

May 06 2009 | Read Full Review of My Happiness Bears No Relatio...

The Guardian

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It is hard to keep up with the flow of books about Israel and Palestine - and harder to find much in their irreconcilable narratives, claims, counter-claims and competitive victimhood that illuminates or humanises the conflict in that divided land.

Jun 27 2009 | Read Full Review of My Happiness Bears No Relatio...

Publishers Weekly

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That his happiness bears a strong relationship to dispossession and exile makes Israeli Arab poet Taha Muhamad Ali, subject of this luminous biography, an iconic voice of the Palestinian consciousness.

Jan 26 2009 | Read Full Review of My Happiness Bears No Relatio...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

In a poem recalling the exodus from his village, he writes: We did not weep Another poem -- written in the wake of Israel's invasion of Beirut in 1982 -- reflects a spirit of intransigence that runs deeper than any political manifesto can express: The street is empty as a monk's memo...

Apr 23 2009 | Read Full Review of My Happiness Bears No Relatio...

Bookmarks Magazine

An autodidact, he has since run a souvenir shop in Nazareth, at the same time evolving into what National Book Critics Circle Award–winner Eliot Weinberger has dubbed “perhaps the most accessible and delightful poet alive today.” MARGIN: 0in 0in 0p...

Apr 13 2009 | Read Full Review of My Happiness Bears No Relatio...

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