From Publishers Weekly
Amiry's parents were among the thousands of Palestinians who fled from their homes in 1948; they went to Amman, Jordan, where the author was brought up before attending the American University in Beirut to study architecture. She returned to Ramallah as a tourist in 1981, but then she met Salim Tamari, fell in love, married him and returned to the city, now heavily occupied by Israeli troops. This book is an attempt to illustrate the life of a middle-class, Westernized woman in an occupied territory: the daily anxieties and struggles with curfews, roadblocks, barricades, body searches, gunfire, endless red tape, discourtesy and general harassment;not to mention the less than peaceful presence of a mother-in-law taken in for safety's sake. The account, often surprisingly good-humored (as when Amiry realizes her dog has a Jerusalem passport though she does not), is vivid but somewhat sketchily based on diaries and e-mails; it gains in immediacy and relevance to current newspaper accounts what it may lack in comprehensiveness. The book was awarded Italy's Viareggio Virsilia Prize, and while the writing is unremarkable, the work serves as an important report from the front. (Oct. 18)
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*Starred Review* "It was a Palestinian version of The Bold and the Beautiful
." Drawing on her personal diary entries and e-mails, Amiry, an architect living in the West Bank town of Ramallah, captures the farce and sorrow of daily life under Israeli occupation over the last 20 years. Some readers may remember her furious appearance on 60 Minutes
in 2003 ("No, this stupid wall has nothing to do with Israel's security. . . .This is the biggest land and water grab in the history of Israel"). But her book is no political tirade. She is laugh-out-loud funny about the soap-opera aspects of daily life in Ramallah. Even as she copes with her teen neighbor and collaborator, she has fun with the kitsch electric Mecca gift he gives her: Is it bugged? Is she paranoid? Then there is her mother-in-law, 91, who moves in after losing all electricity and water in her neighborhood ("Shall I pack my purple dress?" she wonders). The irreverence brings home the bureaucratic absurdity of checkpoints, curfews, barriers, and IDs ("Palestinians from Jerusalem who are Israeli residents but not Israeli citizens with Israeli travel documents"). But the suffering is always there: the reality of displacement, neighborhoods destroyed, interminable lines, shootings, separation, and loss. A prizewinner in Italy, this will reach a wide audience. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved