"In a tone ranging from domestic comedy through social observation to bitter outrage, the author explores the difficulties of life in Palestine, the complex relationships of village life, and the oppression and contradictions of life under occupation."—The Austin Chronicle
"Sharing his story and photos with readers, Shihab both memorializes his homeland and pays tribute to his adopted land."—Al Jadid
"Shihab listens with a sharp ear for revealing dialogue and sets vivid scenes with a keen eye. . . . This truthful memoir will engender deep understanding—in wise and humane terms—about wounds that remain unhealed beneath the looming shadow of a wall."—World Literature Today
Summoned by his dying mother, Palestinian-born Aziz Shihab returns to the homeland he and his family fled as refugees decades earlier: to a Palestine reclaimed by Israelis and to a country no longer that of his youth in a nation whose estate has been challenged by history. This gripping book chronicles that month-long journey.
Part memoir, part travelogue, it reveals the complexities of leaving behind such the past and coming to grips with its abandonment. With his sharp ear for dialogue and with a journalist’s eye, Shihab records and considers, sometimes with fond humor, the Palestinian psyche. Family meetings brim with soothing time-honored ritual and cultural blindness. Pungent street anecdotes resonate with profound themes like human rights, land dislocation, and poverty. Shihab’s stories of departure and return, loss of land and reconnection provide enriching insights into the depth and intricacy of Palestinian culture and history and its legacy of displacement.
Aziz Shihab was the founding editor of the independent Dallas newspaper the Arab Star. He wrote about the Middle East for the Dallas Morning News and the San Antonio Express-News.