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Mornings in Jenin: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Susan Abulhawa
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (466 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mornings in Jenin is a multi-generational story about a Palestinian family. Forcibly removed from the olive-farming village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejos are displaced to live in canvas tents in the Jenin refugee camp. We follow the Abulhejo family as they live through a half century of violent history. Amidst the loss and fear, hatred and pain, as their tents are replaced by more forebodingly permanent cinderblock huts, there is always the waiting, waiting to return to a lost home.

The novel's voice is that of Amal, the granddaughter of the old village patriarch, a bright, sensitive girl who makes it out of the camps, only to return years later, to marry and bear a child. Through her eyes, with her evolving vision, we get the story of her brothers, one who is kidnapped to be raised Jewish, one who will end with bombs strapped to his middle. But of the many interwoven stories, stretching backward and forward in time, none is more important than Amal's own. Her story is one of love and loss, of childhood and marriage and parenthood, and finally the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.

Set against one of the twentieth century's most intractable political conflicts, Mornings in Jenin is a deeply human novel - a novel of history, identity, friendship, love, terrorism, surrender, courage, and hope. Its power forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining conflicts of our lifetimes.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this richly detailed, beautiful and resonant novel examining the Palestinian and Jewish conflicts from the mid-20th century to 2002, (originally published as The Scar of David in 2006, and now republished after a new edit), Abulhawa gives the terrible conflict a human face. The tale opens with Amal staring down the barrel of a soldier's gun—and moves backward to present the history that preceded that moment. In 1941 Palestine, Amal's grandparents are living on an olive farm in the village of Ein Hod. Their oldest son, Hasan, is best friends with a refugee Jewish boy, Ari Perlstein as WWII rages elsewhere. But in May 1948, the Jewish state of Israel is proclaimed, and Ein Hod, founded in 1189 C.E., was cleared of its Palestinian children... and the residents moved to Jenin refugee camp, where Amal is born. Through her eyes we experience the indignities and sufferings of the Palestinian refugees and also friendship and love. Abulhawa makes a great effort to empathize with all sides and tells an affecting and important story that succeeds as both literature and social commentary. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Abulhawa’s debut novel is a powerful portrayal of what might be labeled the “other side” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the viewpoint of Palestinian refugees uprooted in 1948, when Israel became a state. Such as the Abulheja family, who were forced from the village of Ein Hod to a refugee camp in Jenin. We meet twin brothers Ismael, who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish, and Yousef, who becomes filled with hatred and joins the PLO. Through the eyes of Amal, their sister born in Jenin in 1955, we travel through three decades of conflict, starting in June 1967 and the Six Days’ War, during which Jenin is bombed. So begins the military occupation that rules their lives. Amal is sent to an orphanage for Palestinian refugees in Jerusalem in 1969 and later receives a scholarship to Temple University in Philadelphia. Finally, Amal returns to Jenin in 2002 with her daughter to show her the “one-square-kilometer patch of earth” where she grew up. An intimate look at the refugee existence by a daughter of refugees. --Deborah Donovan

Product Details

  • File Size: 1110 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003V4ATSK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,247 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
155 of 169 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to take but harder to put down February 22, 2010
What I write pales in comparison to what you will find in the writing style and story within the pages of this book. If I could adequately describe how this book made me feel, I still would not do the book justice.
Mornings in Jenin is the story of four generations of Palestinians living through the birth of Israel and the never ending war that follows. The story centers on Amal, a women who is born in a refugee camp. Her story is one of loss, love and redemption.
I asked to review this particular book because I have always questioned the war between Israel and Palestine. I am torn between understanding the need for a permanent homeland after living through the horrors of WW2 and the way in which the country of Isreal was settled. When I was younger I would ask my elders to explain the actions of the two nations but try as they might, none could truly explain both sides. The issue of the two nations within one setting is very polarizing. I would hear about the Palestine terrorist but not the people. As a result I know little about the human story of Palestinians and thought this book may offer some insight into their world.
Abulhawa's writing style is nothing short of amazing. Though this book is heartbreaking at every turn Abulhawa's words sing out. Yes, they sing out and you as a reader are caught up in her song. Never mind that at times the pain becomes unbearable, the song of her words compel you the reader to stay with her. A little past half way I wanted to give up; there was too much death and heartache, but I stuck with it as the story needed to be told. As much as it hurt to hear it, this story does need to be told. We need to hear about the aftermaths of war. Not because we need to take one side or the other, but because we should pause before we pick a side.
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68 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read May 19, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mornings in Jenin, by Susan Abulhawa, is the story of one Palestinian family over four generations. It can be argued, however, that it is also a story about any and every Palestinian family. The novel begins in the picturesque village of Ein Hod in the north of Palestine. The Abulheja family leads the simple life that most Palestinian farmers led before their tragic dispossession in 1948. Love was plentiful in Ein Hod. Love for life, for family, for God, and for the land. This was the essence of a farming society for generation upon generation.

The Abulhejas and their countrymen are forced out of their villages and homes only to find refuge in foreign towns and lands. They find themselves in a refugee camp in Jenin, their lives totally turned upside-down after losing everything they knew in their simple but beautiful, Palestinian village.

As they struggle in the refugee camp, in the early period after their exile, olive harvest season approaches. Haj Yehya, the family's patriarch, sneaks across the armistice line to tend to his olive groves despite the threat of death from an Israeli bullet. When he returns to the camp in Jenin where his family anxiously waits, he brings them the fruits of his labor, and the labor of generations before him, plucked from their trees in their village. Nothing could stop this old man from returning to his village, but on his next trip, he never made it back to Jenin.

That was the last time any Abulheja attempted to return, but the dreams of return only grew stronger. Amal, with a long vowel (a name meaning "hopes" in Arabic), was born in the refugee camp of Jenin to Haj Yehya's son Hasan. Her older brother, Yousef, spent his early years in Ein Hod before the Nakba.
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88 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy. April 19, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I told my high-school English class about a wedding I had been to over the weekend. It was a joyful wedding, as weddings should be, but there was also deep sorrow over the family members who couldn't be there; it was a wedding of some refugee friends of mine whose family members had been killed oversees in a clash between Christians and Muslims. I told my students that I was still feeling emotional over the tears of my friends. Tarek, one of my students, raised his hand and asked whether it was a Christian or Muslim wedding. Knowing he was Palestinian, I hoped to help him see that both sides suffer in war, so I told him: "It was a Christian wedding." He cheered about their loss and high-fived another boy in the class who was also Muslim. I suppose I gave the wrong answer. I should have said, "It was a human wedding." That was in the year 2000. To this day I have wanted to understand more about how and why Tarek and others could be so angry toward Americans, Jews, and Christians. So I read this book.

I will say in the author's favor that she had a more balanced perspective than Tarek had. Although she is clearly angry and describes Jewish people as thieves, murderers, and terrorists, she also includes a few Jewish characters who are kind and compassionate. She seeks to understand why Jewish people have taken her land, and concludes that it was because they themselves had been mistreated and without a home; she attempts to have a merciful, balanced perspective. But she is still overtly angry, and she definitely led me as the reader to understand why she is so angry.

It is truly grotesque that I, an educated 34-year-old American citizen, who has even spent 6 years overseas, had never stopped to consider WHY Palestinians are angry with Israel and America.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
I was totally absorbed by this book from page 1. It has given me a far clearer understanding of the Israel/Palestine situation than I ever had, and moved me to tears at times. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Leonie Fleming
5.0 out of 5 stars Palestine enlightened
I have loved every page of this book. I am always attracted to stories of Women ... I love to feel their emotions and dreams's a strong identity this sisterhood. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Arlene
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Mornings in Jenin
Mornings in Jenin
This is a truly unforgettable novel written by American based author, Susan Abulhawa . Read more
Published 5 days ago by Angela Holohan
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to think about
Beautifully written but emotionally difficult to read at time. Provides a different point of view of Middle East conflict with family at the heart of the story.
Published 6 days ago by Shopper1844
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved this book, and again since it is a memoir, I found it even more fascinating.
Published 13 days ago by Beverly Braaten
5.0 out of 5 stars You must read this book and share it with everyone you know
Every one should read this book. What the Zionists/Israelis and all the Western super powers who have supported them since the forties and to this day should be ashamed at best and... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Reader Writes
5.0 out of 5 stars A book worth reading!
I learned a great deal about this time in history. This book was very well written and I loved the character development. This is a book worth reading.
Published 20 days ago by Kathleen S.
4.0 out of 5 stars A great novel, worth reading and exploring every bit of it
This book was a very good read, a thrilling one, and an informative one. Even as a Jordanian Arab having heard - and lived - some of the history that this book narrates through its... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Suleiman
4.0 out of 5 stars "History" with a side of cultural immersion...interesting for anyone...
Four stars in Amazon's review is "I like it"; not quite sure I could say that for such a dark "novel" but I do think it is well written. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A fantastic read, beautifully wrote,
Published 21 days ago by Maryd
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More About the Author

Susan Abulhawa was born to refugees of the 1967 war when Israel captured what remained of Palestine, including Jerusalem. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her daughter. She is the founder and President of Playgrounds for Palestine, a children's organization dedicated to upholding The Right to Play for Palestinian children. Her essays and political commentaries have appeared in print and international news media and she is a contributing author to two anthologies, Shattered Illusions (Amal Press, 2002) and Searching Jenin (Cune Press, 2003). Mornings in Jenin is her first novel.

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