The book of Gaza : a city in short fiction / edited by Atef Abu Saif ; with additional editorial support from Chelsea Milsom and Lauren Pyott.
PW Reviews 2014 August #4
This anthology features some of the best fiction from Gaza to provide glimpses into a city that is widely referenced and not easily classified. The stories vary in style and tone but are unified by themes like self-realization, social conflict, and reflection on the past. Lost love and forced separation are subjects explored by many of the authors, including "Dead Numbers" by Yursa al Khatib, in which a man debates calling a distant love. Several stories center on the search for understanding. In Mona Abu Sharekh's "When I Cut off Gaza's Head" the narrator receives mysterious written confessions from Salwa, a woman she has never met. Gradually, the more the narrator learns about Salwa, the more the narrator understands herself. The collection celebrates humanity by depicting moments of great empathy in a place intruded by "an air of war, raging war," as described by Talal Abu Shawish's "Red Lights." This fractured, dangerous environment is best exemplified in "A White Flower for David" by Ghareeb Asqalani, a standout story in the collection about acts of compassion in a coastal refugee camp. Together these brief slices of life portray an ancient city that is, as Saif's introduction explains, "at the heart of one of the greatest conflicts in modern history." Some of the collection is less captivating, but every story helps to shape this important, compassionate book. (July)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC