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The Parisian by [Isabella Hammad]
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The Parisian Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 357 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of April 2019: You could label The Parisian as historical fiction, but it seems silly to limit it that way. This is just a great novel, and Isabella Hammad is an ambitions, sensitive, and abundantly talented writer. The Parisian is the story of Midhat Kamal. We first meet him in 1914 Marseilles, while he is on his way to Montpelier to attend medical school. He is also about to fall in love for the first time. Within a year, he is studying in Paris, absorbing the culture; but as a Palestinian living in France, he is always an outsider. Eventually, Midhat returns to his hometown of Nablus, where his father, a wealthy textile merchant, rules his days, and where Britain now rules the land. Midhat must answer to his father’s expectations at the same time that he is trying to make his way in a changing Palestine—and still there are tendrils that reach back to France. The Parisian is, almost unbelievably, a debut novel—a moving personal story set against a sweeping historical backdrop—and Isabella Hammad is an exciting new voice in literature. --Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review
Editors' pick: A great novel…Isabella Hammad is an exciting new voice in literature."—Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor



Praise for The Parisian
A New York Times Notable Book of 2019
A 2019 Barnes & Noble Discover Selection
One of Vogue's Best Novels of 2019
An April IndieNext Selection

One of Amazon's Best Books of 2019
One of Lit Hub's Ultimate Best Books of 2019
One of Lit Hub's 50 Best Contemporary Novels over 500 Pages

“Dazzling… A deeply imagined historical novel with none of the usual cobwebs of the genre… The Parisian has an up-close immediacy and stylistic panache… that are all the more impressive coming from a London-born writer still in her 20s… Exquisite.”New York Times Book Review

“Assured and captivating… Ms. Hammad’s acute evocation of place and personality ensures that we are never lost… This agile writer sets us firmly in place, fixing our attention on intersecting lives.”Wall Street Journal

“Reminiscent of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong, 27-year-old Isabella Hammad’s epic debut novel surpasses both in its scope.”New York

“Stunning…a lush rendering of Palestinian life a century ago under the British mandate and a sumptuous epic about the enduring nature of love.”Vogue

"Hammad uses the features of historical novels to cut through the familiar dichotomies of West and Near East, placing her protagonist in a rich web of families, political intrigues, and cultural exchanges, and subtly reconfiguring the literary tropes of 'home' and 'abroad.'"New Yorker

“Epic… Because the book takes place in the complicated time and spaces that it does, the narrative grapples with sociopolitical concerns as well as it does the intimate, human ones. It sweeps you along.”Vanity Fair

“Superb… Elegantly controlled…The Parisian makes history, and its actors, live once again.”Boston Globe

“[A] lush historical epic with echoes of Stendhal.”O Magazine

“With historical sweep and sentences of startling beauty, [Hammad] has written the story of a displaced dreamer… Readers will be rewarded with a new voice worth listening to.”Christian Science Monitor

“Provocative, testing and magnificently risky, this is an author writing for her life.”Telegraph

“Lavish, leisurely and immersive… The Parisian comes across as both old-fashioned and modern-minded…. Ms. Hammad's command of the broad picture and the filigree detail alike makes this paradoxical tone succeed. One of Midhat's French friends disdains the small stuff since he “was an architect, not a carpenter.” Ms. Hammad knows, and triumphantly shows, that a novelist of vision must be both.”Economist

“Remarkably accomplished… Hammad is a natural storyteller. She sustains tension and suspends revelation skillfully, and interweaves character and theme, the global and the local, with the assurance of a much more experienced author. The writing is deeply humane, its wide vision combined with poised restraint… The Parisian teems with riches – love, war, betrayal and madness – and marks the arrival of a bright new talent.”Guardian

“One of the most ambitious first novels to have appeared in years… Written in soulful, searching prose, it’s a jam-packed epic… Hammad is a natural social novelist with an ear for lively dialogue as well as an ability to illuminate psychological interiority… Hammad is a writer of startling talent – and The Parisian has the rhythm of life.”Observer

“Hammad has an exquisite control on her subject: this is precise writing, measured, and careful… Much of the pleasure of the book is to be found in Hammad’s often strikingly clear, original imagery … She also provides many canny shifts in focus, from a cinematic, establishing wide-shots of a location, deftly sketched, to zooming in on the tiniest, most intimate detail …It is Hammad’s sustaining of both perspectives, the minutiae that make up an individual life and the macro political upheavals that change a country forever, that makes The Parisian so impressive.”Independent

"[A] dazzling debut... every page a vibrant pleasure to read." LitHub

“Isabella Hammad shows rare maturity, both in her marshaling of a huge cast of characters and in her ability to illuminate such a politically charged period of history without didacticism or literary showboating.”Mail on Sunday

“Sumptuous and sharply observed – an old-school novel to lost yourself in.”Metro

“It's hard to believe this sweeping, sophisticated historical novel is Isabella Hammad's debut ― Hammad is truly a talent to watch.”Refinery29

“Hammad is an ambitious, sensitive, and abundantly talented writer… An exciting new voice in literature.”Omnivoracious

“A triumph… A big, bold love story nestled within a powerful drama about the centuries-old Palestinian struggle for independence.”Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“In her exceptional debut, Hammad taps into the satisfying slow-burn style of classic literature with a storyline that captures both the heart and the mind….Richly textured prose drives the novel’s spellbinding themes of the ebb and flow of cultural connections and people who struggle with love, familial responsibilities, and personal identity. This is an immensely rewarding novel that readers will sink into and savor.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An assured debut novel… closely observed and elegantly written.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A hugely accomplished historical sweep of a book… a novel of immense skill and confidence.”Guardian

The Parisian is a gripping historical novel, a poignant romance, and a revelatory family epoch. Above all, it is a generous gift. There is a kind of joy that can hold not only pleasure, but struggle, and even sadness. This novel tells that kind of joyful story, and evokes that kind of joy in the reader.”―Jonathan Safran Foer

The Parisian is a sublime reading experience: delicate, restrained, surpassingly intelligent, uncommonly poised and truly beautiful. It is realism in the tradition of Flaubert and Stendhal – everything that happens feels not so much imagined as ordained. That this remarkable historical epic should be the debut of a writer in her mid-twenties seems impossible, yet it's true. Isabella Hammad is an enormous talent and her book is a wonder.”―Zadie Smith

The Parisian is extraordinary―wise, ambitious, and lavishly rewarding. With luminous prose and rare compassion, Isabella Hammad offers her readers an absorbing story of war and identity, of love and independence, of hope and history. It’s an astonishing novel, heralding the arrival of a major talent.”―Bret Anthony Johnston

The Parisian is a lushly imagined, beautifully written, expansive powerhouse of a debut. Isabella Hammad is a great new voice.”―Nathan Englander

"An exquisite, intricate and wise novel. I was utterly gripped from the first page until the last. This sweeping, historical epic marks the arrival of a wonderfully gifted author. Isabella Hammad is a marvel and The Parisian is an unforgettable read."―Irenosen Okojie

“With masterful lyricism and unflinching insight, The Parisian captures the personal passion and political violence of a nascent nation’s struggle for independence. Hammad has written a profound and intoxicating epic, brimming with unexpected, vivid imagery and unforgettable characters. Hers is a fresh voice of the first order.”―Bradford Morrow

“A model of what the short story can do…[A] most ingenious and openhearted work.”―David Gates on Isabella Hammad’s “Mr. Can’aan,” winner of the 2018 Plimpton Prize --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07NF8RRR7
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Grove Press (April 9, 2019)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ April 9, 2019
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1804 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 578 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 357 ratings

Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5
357 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on June 30, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on May 13, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

JC of MK
2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 1, 2019
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4.0 out of 5 stars Impressionist Painting Of A Turbulent Saga
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars A well-funded historical study, embedded in a mellow romance
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 12, 2019
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4.0 out of 5 stars A well-funded historical study, embedded in a mellow romance
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 12, 2019
The story of Medhat Kamal is a typical story of an individual(ist) lost in the pattern of society and politics. In her first literature trial, Isabella Hammad wants to talk politics. Her historical research lightens an important, though neglected part of Palestinian history and helps Western reader to understand the Palestinian perspective of the Palestine issue. The work even more valuable as she portrays the city of Nablus at the beginning of the century. Although Nablus is one of the major Palestinian cities, it has not received that much attention in literature and historical works. Isabella Hammad re-collects the fragments of written and oral history of the city and manages to use it as magnificent coulisse for her novel.
I found the Part in Montpellier is rather slow and partly unnecessary for the further development of the story.
If you are from Nabuls or have been there once, you will love this book.
In total good read.
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Mrs Dipti Shah
4.0 out of 5 stars The Parisian
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 30, 2020
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Qatrinnada Rawi
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to get this book soon after publication
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 9, 2019
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