In no way a novel of propaganda one way or the other, Dabbagh has been extremely careful with the use of buzzwords and terms we are too used to hearing in reference to the Palestine-Israel conflict. We are aware of the Israeli military's presence in her description of the aftermath of various attacks, but she also brings in another point of view that is not often enough exposed in relation to the war - the notion that the Palestinians have 'let' themselves be overrun by the enemy and the fact that instead of acting as a united force against the threat, they are killing each other - a remark made by several of the story's characters.
The novel takes the reader from Gaza to London, the Gulf, and a few retrospective stints in Switzerland, travelling on the characters' waves of consciousness. For a chapter we see the world through a character's eyes, before we are plunged into another character's thoughts - this is what gives the reader real insight into the tumultuous life of Gaza but without taking pity on the characters despite a certain revolt welling up inside the reader as the story unravels. Although based on fact, the novel isn't one just of politics and war, but it also reveals everyday concerns of love, friendship, family, cross-cultural boundaries as well as personal evolution, giving it an accessible edge that makes this novel impossible to put down. One of the best reads we have had the pleasure of picking up this year and comes extremely highly recommended.
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