Winner of the Orwell Prize 2008. Raja Shehadeh's twenty seven years going on sarha's, wandering the hills of Ramallah and beyond, form the warp and the weft of a life rich with observations. The purpose of a sarha is to wander freely and aimlessly, to nourish the soul and rejuvenate. Each walk combines poignant, lyrical, reflections of a vanishing landscape with an ancient history. Along with that, eloquent stories of the people who cultivated the land with terraces of olive trees and grapevines. Poetic, political, and spiritual, this second edition has seven unique walks, each one embracing real people, past and present.
The hills are alive with the music of shepherds and their flocks, vibrant spring flowers, arid sunburnt wadis, transforming light, winter rain and snow, and Jewish settlers who claim a divine right to the land. One of the most captivating stories in the book is that of Abu Ameen, a poor stone mason. For all its poignancy, this is also an elevating story of human endurance, tested to extremes, in the harshness of a land with many restrictions.
Raja Shehadeh is a lawyer and writer living in Ramallah, a city in the Palestinian West Bank. He is also the author of the highly praised When the Bulbul Stopped Singing and Strangers in the House.