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Customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Gate Of The Sun
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 13 December 2008
When you're in the presence of literary greatness, you know it. This is one of the finest novels written in the 20th Century. It is THE finest novel ever written about Palestine and the creation of Israel (though, since it is fair-minded and devoid of bigotry and justification of what cannot be justified, that is not hard). I sometimes had to put it down because the accumulation of pain is so hard to take, but it is not a book one could ever walk away from. Anyone who wonders how we in the West came to be surrounded on all sides by terrorist threats should read this book -- and should then ask themselves: faced with that history; faced with that oppression; faced with those lies; faced with that duplicity; faced with that level of provocation -- what would YOU do?
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on 13 January 2009
A powerful insight into the middle east, which is also a rich work of literature. By being both epic and personal, you are drawn into a terrible tragedy for a people and for people. A great hero lies in a coma and his story is told by his nurse, who is dedicated but has his own story to tell. It's a mixture of myth and ordinariness and is never simple.
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on 13 June 2007
The author smartly entwines all the true life stories he has come across in his lifetime into characters in his book. One of the main things I love is the way the author starts at the end of the story, and takes you back to the beginning, providing snippets of peoples distressed lives and then taking you back to how they have become that way.

For a true insight into the aftermath of the establishment of Israel and the lives of the dispersed Palestinians across the Arab nations (in particular Lebanon) then this is the book to read. The reference to Palestinians becoming the "Video Nation" is well put, attributing a nation living their daily lives based on the memory of what was once their heritage...

The book received a great review in the Guardian back in October 2005 which inspired me to buy it. Can't believe I'm the first to review it on Amazon though!

Note: Warning for the average modest reader! This book has a great deal of sexual content - far too graphical in some scenes. Hence the three stars.
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on 15 October 2008
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.
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on 9 February 2013
Very nice story, well narrated and brings back some historical facts about the region and the politics in general in the Middle East
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on 13 June 2011
I would have preferred to be given the chance to read a selection of pages from the book before I bought it. The book title/subject appeared very inviting, but although the stories told by the single character-narrator are interesting, this style does not appeal for everybody, certainly not for me. Lesson learned: never buy a book online if it is not recommended by someone you trust.
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