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Wild Thorns (Interlink World Fiction) Paperback – September 1, 2003
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From Kirkus Reviews
Wild Thorns ($12.95 paperback original; Jan.; 208 pp.; 1-56656-336-4). An earnest Arabic novel, first published in 1976, that dramatizes the reactions of Palestinian nationalists to Israeli occupation of the West Bank, an action that has turned many of their countrymen into nomads dutifully commuting to alien territory to work ( . . . the people had become soft, been brainwashed with lies and Israeli cash). Khalifehs initial focus on Usama, a young Palestinian returned home to find his relatives compromised in this way, yields to more diffused depictions of several other characters with whom he finds himself conspiring to blow up buses transporting day-workers. The conspiracy raises havoc with the storys formal unity but does enable it to portray credibly a troubling spectrum of understandably extreme responses to disenfranchisement and oppression. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Wild Thorns is a chronicle of everyday Arab life in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. With its panorama of characters and unsentimental portrayals of everyday life, Wild Thorns is the first Arab novel to give a true picture of social and personal relations under the occupation. Wild Thorns is convincing, with a sincere and uncompromising honesty, there is a rich emotional texture pleading elegantly for the cause of survival in the face of oppression. -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The way Sahar Khalifeh presented the changes in the Palestinian society during the first few years of the occupation was very illuminating and original. Here we see a highly polarized society, the Palestinians working abroad in the oil states, the Palestinians working "inside", the "intellectuals", the upper and middle classes, of whom, some "collaborated" and others refused to. Tremendous tensions described in a very real and human way, with little attempt to support one group of Palestinians over another.
Adil, is by far the most sympathetic character in the novel. He works tirelessly to support his family; he does however resent his father, and gets drunk to wash it all away. A classic war of the classes, the father fights by talking to western media, would never approve of his son working "inside" yet he does not approve of Usama or his youngest son breaking the laws of the Israeli occupation. Adil, the son, works diligently to improve the condition of fellow laborers and fights for their rights within the Israeli law.Read more ›
The tale is already twenty-six years old, set just a few years into the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Written by a Palestinian, about Palestinians, it is sympathetic to them, but it's not a propaganda piece. We get only rare glimpses of Israelis in this book, but when they do appear, they are shown in the same humane light that shines on the main characters. When a five year old Syrian boy meets his imprisoned father for the first time, the Israeli guards turn away with tears in their eyes. This is not the only scene in which someone on one side of the conflict responds compassionately to the suffering of someone on the other side.
Parents and grandparents want their boys and young men to study and become professionals with good incomes, and they hope for their daughters to marry successful daughters. Men struggle to feed their families and to negotiate a little self respect in spite of the compromises they find themselves making. Other men (and boys) alternate between pride, fear, and shame as they try to respond to the humiliations and oppression of their people with costly courage.
One of the great functions of literature is to let the reader walk in another's shoes. That is what I had in mind when I chose to read this book. I have not been disappointed.
In "Wild Thorns" Sahar Khalifeh takes the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and offers her readers a deeper side to the miserable situation that we only hear about in two-minute segments on CNN. By describing different aspects of the conflict such as resentment between Palestinians who live in the Occupied Territories and those who've left the country and gone elsewhere, Khalifeh shows that the situation is NOT just between Arabs and Jews. Khalifeh also describes the difficult situation that exists when a young Palestinian woman falls in love with a man that her father does not approve of.
This novel delves into the complicated situation that exists in the war-torn Middle East by portraying REAL people with REAL problems and REAL lives. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about the terrible Palestinian-Israeli conflict from a wonderful writer who has actually experienced life under occupation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The story was hard to follow at times because there were so many names to remember. Very real events and experiences of adults relating to the history between the Palestinian and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Linda Thao
Nice introduction to the Palestinian diaspora. It captures much emotion and delivers.Published 19 months ago by Kenso
This is a clear-eyed, subtle and multifaceted novel. I have assigned it several times in teaching Modern World History. Read morePublished 23 months ago by J. Tarpley
School requires this book for 11 grade good book!! My son loves it and it is very helpful!! We order all his schoolbooks on amazon!!!Published on May 3, 2014 by Judith
Wild Thorns is the story of Usama and his return to occupied Palestine. After two years in exile, with nothing much to report, he arrives with a mission to blow up a bus meant to... Read morePublished on December 1, 2011 by Adam Katzman
Sahar Khalifeh is a Palestinian woman who teaches at the University of Iowa and at Birzeit University ("sister university" of UC Davis). Read morePublished on April 22, 2011 by Audrey Shabbas
I was assigned to read this book for a World Literature class in college and I did not finish it then. Read morePublished on April 4, 2011 by E. S. Anderson