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Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape Paperback – Deckle Edge, June 3, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
For everyone who shares the author's love of the land or has any respect for human dignity, this book will make you despair over the tragedy of it all.
Some books on the subject have challenged me, all have upset me, but none have effected me as viscerally as these personal ruminations on the irretrievable loss of the landscape itself.
It's beautifully written. Read it and weep.
I wish I was in Palestine now to take in the spring, the explosion of vibrant green and the vivid colors of wildflowers popping out from between every stone.
Shehadeh knows this landscape better than most, which I have happily hiked for hours. Including the almost inevitable brush with settlers, soldiers, Walls, checkpoints, settlements, and military installations. Hiking Palestine is uplifting to the spirit, and then crushing to the soul when you see the destruction the Israelis have wrought. Shehadeh captures these feelings perfectly, subtly, poignantly.
So said Annie Dillard, at the beginning of her autobiography, "An American Childhood." Others have felt the same way, from Cezanne's obsession with Mont St. Victoire, to even myself, and the light on a certain mountain in Vietnam's Binh Dinh province, which I hoped to be able to recall clearly, 25 years after my first encounter with it. Shehadeh's sentiments are strongly similar; he has a deep attachment to the land of his birth, how it lays this way and that. In his first of six stories in this book, he introduces the concept of "sarha," an Arabic word that means to roam freely, at will, without restraint. Throughout his life he has enjoyed taking long hikes in his native hills; his prose reflects this profoundly moving and therapeutic pleasure. Unlike Pittsburgh, or Provence, or even south central Vietnam, the topography that has given Shehadeh so much pleasure is rapidly changing, the result of individuals who believe they have a higher priority right to the land, and reinforce their belief with endless concrete, leveling hilltops for their settlements, and paving roads straight through them, instead of following the contours. At the same time they are building walls, more walls, more barriers that restrict Shehadeh, and his fellow Palestinians' access to the land of their birth. Though he does not literally say it, the entire book echoes, with a slight paraphrase, the words of Ronald Reagan: "Mr. Netanyahu, tear down these walls."
Each of the six stories is solid, and well-written, but my favorite is the second one, "The Albina Case.Read more ›
On a positive note, this book is a real treat to the senses. The beauty of the land comes to life. very, very good!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent. Hope everybody pays attention to what happens in Paletinian.Published 22 months ago by Terry
Israel is under siege from her enemies since her inception and by the people who wanted to 'drive all the Jews into the sea' just 3 years after the Holocaust in which 6 millions of... Read morePublished on January 29, 2014 by Jenny Jacobs :-)
A moving and precise look at Palestine that begins on the ground and moves forward with a leisurely and observant pace.Published on December 10, 2013 by Martha L. Williams
Raja Shehadeh manages to write at once eloquently and unassumingly about a charged topic. As someone who grew up taking long walks through my city, I appreciated on a personal... Read morePublished on November 19, 2013 by Mary Anderson
This book is more than a travelogue; it is a ode to a landscape altered and ruined by occupation. Yet the author wisely doesn't turn this book into a rant. Read morePublished on November 9, 2013 by Barrie-John Murphy
It is very sad to have read, how much the Palestinian people continue to loose their lands so european jews flock to israel and take arab lands. Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by richard
The author writes about Prophet Muhammad who prayed towards Jerusalem.
It shows the centrality of Jews in his world view; he based his new religion on Judaism.
Mr. Read more