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Dense Story of a Forgotten Land,
This review is from: Gate Of The Sun (Paperback)
If you want to know something of the Palestinian story of the last 60 years then you could do a lot worse than read this. Khoury's 500 page epic takes the form of a monologue, as the scarcely trained Dr Khaleel Ayoub tries to talk comatose freedom fighter Yunis back to life.
The novel bulges with countless tales of flight, exile, persecution, descrimination and war but always allied to a deep love of the Palestinian land. What is perhaps surprising is that the novel is completely devoid of fundamentalism - Yunis is shown to have been as tolerant of atheists, spiritualists and Christians as he is of muslims. Time and time again, the Palestinians' devotion is shown to be to their historic land, their olive trees, "Christ's fish" from the sea at Galilee etc. Khoury's book revels in the themes of home v displacement, with refugees victims by dint of their status to a range of other horrors from hopelessness and poverty, to violence. This is a thought-provoking novel with much to add to the study of today's polarised Middle East.
My reservation is that this is a very dense tome. This is a 500 page monologue with precious few paragraph breaks, with overlapping, repeating stories told out of sequence and frequent asides into the imaginary with laments about the frailties of memory clouding accuracy. Thus, it is a challenging read and one that won't suit you if you like to dip into books or just read a few pages a day.