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Miral: A Novel Paperback – November 3, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (November 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143116193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143116196
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This novel of a Palestinian girl growing up amid the intifada is packed with historical facts, but never rises above mediocrity. Philanthropist Hind Husseini creates a children's shelter in 1948 in response to the destruction wrought by the first Arab-Israeli war. Decades later, Miral comes into Hind's care after her mother kills herself. As Miral witnesses the effects of the Israeli campaigns against the intifada, she draws closer to the political fringes, finally choosing to join the struggle in full. Yet the benevolent influence of Hind and an eye-opening friendship with an Israeli socialist subdues Miral's radicalism and offers some hope for the future. Jebreal is a successful journalist in Italy, and true to form the plot rips along with quick-reading prose, though the characters' simplicity presents a big problem, in that, despite the dire circumstances, it's hard to connect with archetypes. It's perfectly serviceable and offers a reliable refresher of the Palestinian struggle, but there are many more distinguished novels on the subject.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

After the 1948 war, Hind Husseini set up an orphanage and boarding school in Jerusalem for homeless Palestinian girls. In this gripping historical novel based on Husseinis efforts, Palestinian-born Italian journalist Jebreal focuses on the girls Hind saves, including Miral, and the young men and adults they know. As Miral grows up, she teaches in desperate refugee camps in the West Bank, witnesses Israeli terror (including soldiers breaking the arms of children who throw stones), joins young activists in the Occupied Territories, and falls in love. She also befriends a young Jewish peace activist. The individual viewpoints are the strength of the story, which presents the family and political history from many sides, including Palestinian girls oppressed by Arab regimes and at home, as well as by the Israeli Occupation. There is loathing for collaborators. But are peace negotiations betrayal? After her friend is shot dead in a demonstration, should Miral throw a Molotov cocktail? There are few novels that show the personal conflict in such depth and complexity. With a movie forthcoming, this will spark passionate discussion. --Hazel Rochman

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Customer Reviews

A really good book and a fast read.
ash1234
Rula does such a great writing this book and her story is so amazing for her to have accomplished this much.
Sheri
Unfortunately I found this book really boring.
alooknac

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Sheri on December 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this book and I want to say I found it amazing! Having just visited Palestine this past summer, last time I was there was 1976, I known where every part of this book takes place. Rula does such a great job bringing alive the colors, smells and landscape of the country. I eyewitnessed myself and my 18 year old son, the hardship of occupation but the unrelating hope that both sides have for peace. In Ramallah there is contact bustle from shop owner and their customers. Especially coming from America and knowing the freedom to be able to travel anywhere in the 50 states without carrying passports or official documents, i couldn't help but be sad for those kicked off the bus just because they were Palestinian. But they were content and went back to there homes. In Jersulem, although separated I witnessed Isreali and Palestinian walking and working together. It is a hard life for both peoples but especially the Palestinian people. That being said there is always a glimmer of hope for peace! Rula does such a great writing this book and her story is so amazing for her to have accomplished this much. I would recommend this book to everyone. It gives you such a great sense of hope for one day peace in the region!
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Reader on January 20, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Surprisingly, I learned about this book on the late-night talk show hosted by Jimmy Fallon. I purchased it the day I received my Kindle for Christmas (First book I read on the ebook reader!). Jebreal is a talented author with the ability to hook readers. Most surprisingly, I have learned a significant amount about the historical context of the story. Not a product plug, but... It helped reading with the Kindle as the dictionary would explain some cultural references. Enjoy! And thank you Jimmy Fallon!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alwina on April 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charlie Rose in his inimitable choice of guests on his show gave the public a chance to meet Rula Jabreal. It didn't take a minute after the show for me to run to my computer and push the Amazon.com quick order button to get her book. Although Rula calls her book a novel - it is based on a true story and she writes in a journalistic rather than literary style - at first reading a little confusing.
There are statements in the book one wants to underline! It gives a heart-rendering account not only of the harsh political background but the experience of suffering political choices can,have and always will create. The further away from the first reading the more impact the content has on you - it warrants a second reading. One feels the true cry for the world in general to pursue Peace as a first priority. One word of warning: Don't see the film without having read the book! The film is good as augmentation.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Simon on September 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
I first became aware of this book because at a movie theater a preview/trailer was shown about the movie based on the book---and the movie was never, ever, shown. Mmmmmm. I wonder why.

Anyway, I bought the book and was delighted to see that the Palestinian side of the Middle East fiasco is presented, albeit in a fictional form (for a nonfictional book, read Palestine Inside Out. After decades and decades of having Zionist propaganda shoved down our collective throats here in the States---not to mention having to sit through endless Holocaust films from Hollywood---it was refreshing to see things from the other point of view. The endless indignities and humiliations and atrocities that Palestinians have to endure are seen through the eyes of the various women in the book and the way that they cope.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Renee on February 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is set in the Middle East and primarily depicts twentieth century Palestinian women. It is also an accurate description of the turbulent Israeli/Palestinian conflict, how it has affected the land, and its people. The novel begins with a full character development of the founder of an orphanage (Hind) and ends with her death. The main character is also fully developed, as are most of the ancillary characters. All characters are realistically portrayed. The history of the region is adequately enough described for an unfamiliar reader to still enjoy the story - and perhaps learn something new.

Plot: Miral is a young woman whose life is forever changed when she goes with her sister to an orphanage/boarding school. Miral is influenced by her heritage as a Palestinian, daughter of an imam, daughter of a dancer, associates of various political factions, the motherly love of the founder of the school, the children in refugee camps, the Israeli army, and finally by her passing friendship with a Jewish woman. As history unfolds around her, Miral's political and personal views mature as well.

A lovely written novel and a lovely read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By vxs123 on August 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Living in the United States I rarely get an unbiased account of life in the middle east. This book helps change that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James W. Fonseca on July 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's tough growing up as a Palestinian in Israel. This book takes us back through the reminiscences of a "grande dame" of the Palestinian people who started an orphanage for girls homeless by political violence that eventually grew into a school for women leaders in Palestine. While the book has a pro-Palestinian bias and cites many travesties by the Israelis, it is not an anti-Israel screed. It shows respect for Israeli liberals who support Palestine and worked with the Palestinians in demonstrations that led to various political gains. We see tales of friendship between Israelis and Palestinians and we get a genuine and non-whitewashed perspective on Palestinian life through the lives of the various young women in the school. We see factional Palestinian-on-Palestinian violence, and tales of spousal abuse and molestation of daughters by fathers. With its focus on a women's school in a patriarchal culture, this book is just as much about dreams of women's liberation as it is about Palestinian liberation.
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