Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Scar of David

I just read an important yet, to my outrage, little-known novel: The Scar of David by Susan Abulhawa. This book tore me up. Reading the last pages as I ate dinner last night, I had to set it aside because I was crying too hard to swallow my food without choking. After I picked it back up and finished this searing, painful, beautifully written book I had to sit quietly for a long time until I calmed down and could function again. Now that's what reading fiction should be. Losing yourself in a story that tells the truth. A story that matters. A story that grips you and transports you.

A necessary story.

The Scar of David brings to life the experience of the last 61 years of exile and suffering endured by the Palestinian people, focusing on the life of one Palestinian family moving through the years. The protagonist, Amal, embodies the bittersweet Palestinian experience, full of love and joy and rage and mourning, surviving unimaginable tragedy and trauma, ever unvanquished, never forsaking the hope for a return to the beloved homeland. Her life and the lives of her family and friends are, though fictional, very very real. I wish this book would get into many more readers' hands. It would open many eyes, I believe, and win many friends for Palestine.