Review of Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

WI-Flyers Book Club

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Mornings in Jeninby Susan Abulhawa

On Wednesday 5thDecember 2018 we met up at Debbie G’s house for some festive Christmas cheer and – in between the prosecco and delicious nibbles – to talk about our latest book, Mornings in Jeninby Susan Abulhawa. 

In the 1948 invasion of Palestine which led to the founding of Israel, a baby boy is snatched from his Palestinian mother by an Israeli soldier and delivered to his wife, to be brought up hating Palestinians. Then he meets his twin brother. Interestingly, this is not the centre of the novel. Rather, Mornings in Jeninis the heart-wrenching story of Amal, the twin boys’ sister, who grows up in the Jenin refugee camp and is then orphaned in the 1967 war; she makes it out of the camp, only to return years later.  

This book prompted much debate about the creation of the state of Israel and the resulting suffering of the Palestinian people … and also Great Britain’s (not insignificant) role in this political and humanitarian catastrophe.  But mainly we enjoyed talking about the individual characters, and how the circumstances around them and the decisions they made directed their lives.  

This is a beautifully told, deeply human story; it is a story of history, identity, friendship, love, terrorism, surrender, courage and hope, which forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining conflicts of our lifetime, and that will stay with us forever.