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Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories Paperback – November 1, 1999


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Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories + Season of Migration to the North (New York Review Books Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 117 pages
  • Publisher: Three Continents Pr; 2nd edition edition (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0894108573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0894108570
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Far from being a simple parable, [Men in the Sun] depicts some often hidden aspects of the complex social and political reality of the Palestinians ... and is also a well-told story.... We should not forget the excellent translation of Hilary Kilpatrick which not only manages to preserve the subtle voice of the narrator, but also matches accurately the sober and lucid prose in Arabic for which Kanafani was hugely admired. --Samir el-Youssef, Banipal

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Arabic

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Kanafani's original writing style is brought out beautifully in this excellent translation.
Giant Panda
In this emotional story, it is stressed that this child's sacrifice must not be lost, but be a reminder of all which has been lost.
"ecf3k"
This book contains a novella as well as several short stories by the prominent Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani.
Giant Panda

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Giant Panda on July 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book contains a novella as well as several short stories by the prominent Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani. Kanafani is known in the Arab world as a literary master, and "Men in the Sun" is deemed by many to be his masterpiece. The book was a tremendous pleasure to read and at the same time intensely thought-provoking. Kanafani's original writing style is brought out beautifully in this excellent translation. In these stories, Kanafani experiments with various literary techniques that were revolutionary in the world of literature at their time (1960s). I particularly enjoy the twists of plot at the end of each story, and how the very last sentence forces me to re-think and re-evaluate my entire understanding of the piece. Seeped in the author's struggle for freedom and for a homeland, these stories reflect a deep understanding of human relationships and the human condition. Yet despite (or perhaps because of) this depth, the main characters tend to always be ordinary human beings - usually from the lower classes. Another feature of "Men in the Sun" is the variation of voice and perspective from paragraph to paragraph. For a moment we are in the head of one character, an old man crossing the desert to Kuwait. The next we're taken back in time to 1948, when that man was forced to leave his country by the ravages of war. Then we're transplanted into the shoes of another character, a young man hitching a ride from Jordan to Iraq. All this is done smoothly enough not to interrupt the narrative, but instead, the perspective of the plot wanders as thoughts naturally wander in one's mind. Truly Kanafani was a master of literary techniques. Few have been able to pack so many ideas and characterization and so much change into a short story.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By "ecf3k" on November 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Kanafani, Ghassan, "Men In the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories" (London: Lynne
Rienner Publishers, 1999), pp.115, cloth, $12.99.
The importance of homeland is a theme that runs throughout this emotional collection of stories, written in a manner that expresses both the fear and pain that the Palestinian people felt after 1948. In "Men In the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories", Kanafani creates "everyman" characters, who easily move the reader through their struggling losses of land, occupation, family members, and comfort. Underlying this theme within Kanafani's stories is strong allegory and symbolism. These characteristics can be clearly examined in the first story of the collection, "Men In the Sun".
Kanafani weaves memory with an intense meta-narrative in "Men In the Sun", through three primary characters that reflect the vulnerability, hardship, and loss of Palestinian refugees. Set in 1958, these characters, a young boy of sixteen, a resistance fighter in his twenties, and an old peasant, all dream of leaving behind their painful past and finding new hope in Kuwait. Their destinies collide when they meet a smuggler who promises a safe journey across the border to a new, happier life. Although his greedy attitude and method of transportation frightens the lot, desperation places the three men in his care. The journey holds a tragic ending for these three "everyman" characters, as their beating fists and hearts are muffled into silence.
The author uses time and symbolism in this story to make strong allegorical connections to the concepts of homeland, nature, manhood, and the political meta-narrative.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By N. ALHAGEALI on April 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Men in the sun", a novel by Ghassan Kanafani, is a story about the suffer of the Palestinian people since 1948 (and earlier in the 20th century). "Men in the sun" is neither a story about Yasser Arafat's legacy and his PLO's sense of politics nor a debate on Oslo and Madrid agreements. The novel is a piece of art that visualizes the Palestinian tragedy and extreme reality.

It is the story of three men's quest for a better life. They plan to migrate from the "occupation cage" to a new "promise land" where they meet the "promised demise" in the desert, a home to Arabs and Bedouins. In this story, the dream of the three main figures of the story represents the dream of every man who loses the feeling of belonging to a certain place at a certain time. To achieve that dream, it requires struggle with harsh circumstances of life. The result is not always guaranteed. Suffer, resistance, commitment, dreams, hope, fatigue, thirst, and death will form a strange, yet unique, amalgam that represents the Palestinian identity.

The symbolism in this story is just intriguing. In fact, the elements of the story symbolize the migration of any man to a "self-imposed exile", where "enforced dreams" replace the simple (yet lost) passion, love, and happiness to form a complex and bitter reality.

The novel ends with a beautiful and so influential paragraph that tries to raise the question of why the 3 men (main figures of the novel) did not try to knock on the walls of their symbolic "prison"? Why did not they call for help?
"Why? Why? Why?"; one may understand The "Whys" of Kanafani at the close of his masterpiece as follows: why did not some of the oppressed people reject the abject reality? Why did not they fight for their life and freedom? Could it be that they were so hopeless and tired, or were they so afraid from going back to the occupied home-land? Did they prefer death to losing their dream?
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