Mornings in Jenin

Mornings in Jenin

A Novel

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
13
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Mornings in Jenin is a multi-generational story about a Palestinian family. Forcibly removed from the olive-farming village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejos are displaced to live in canvas tents in the Jenin refugee camp. We follow the Abulhejo family as they live through a half century of violent history. Amidst the loss and fear, hatred and pain, as their tents are replaced by more forebodingly permanent cinderblock huts, there is always the waiting, waiting to return to a lost home.

The novel's voice is that of Amal, the granddaughter of the old village patriarch, a bright, sensitive girl who makes it out of the camps, only to return years later, to marry and bear a child. Through her eyes, with her evolving vision, we get the story of her brothers, one who is kidnapped to be raised Jewish, one who will end with bombs strapped to his middle. But of the many interwoven stories, stretching backward and forward in time, none is more important than Amal's own. Her story is one of love and loss, of childhood and marriage and parenthood, and finally the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.

Set against one of the twentieth century's most intractable political conflicts, Mornings in Jenin is a deeply human novel - a novel of history, identity, friendship, love, terrorism, surrender, courage, and hope. Its power forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining conflicts of our lifetimes.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2010
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781608190461
1608190463
Branch Call Number: FIC Abul
Characteristics: 331p

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pozrob
Dec 04, 2017

This is by far the best book I'v read this year. Just as in Northern Ireland, both sides have squandered peace and perpetuated conflict 50/50. I highly recommend two works that are non-fiction with regards to the subject matter in this novel. This Side of Peace by Hanan Ashrawi and The Case For Peace by Alan Dershowitz....

"Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
John F. Kennedy

r
ravennareader
Mar 03, 2015

I was interested in reading this Palestinian narrative about the Middle-East for a different point of view.
I became bored about one third of the way through. The author brings in so many new characters that it is hard to keep track of them or care about them.
Reads like a memoir with little relationship to the complexity of the historical and political context of the time.

Hotspur Aug 01, 2014

What a disgusting, hate filled book that paints a false picture of Israeli society. I am perfectly willing to believe there are two narratives who contradict each other. But a book that denies one side any narrative, which places her own thoughts into the mouths of others in order to whitewash history, that is unforgivable.

In Morning in Jenin (MIJ)'s world, there are no healthy, normal Jews. There are four primary Jewish characters in the story. Three are actually barren and sterile and the fourth was born Palestinian. Jews are shown to be cruel, venal, selfish, rootless, conscience-less, violent, immoral. At best, they are cowardly, and at worst, they are monsters. MIJ whitewashes years of Jewish history in the holy land, and even creates Israelis to parrot the Palestinian narrative. MIJ has the Israelis call themselves rootless thieves, (something Israelis would hotly deny). The book denies any connection to Israel. MIJ erases Jews of color and makes Nazi comparisons over and over again.

In a modern day blood libel, MIJ attempts to create a clumsy metaphor for what she sees is the theft of her land by making a Jewish soldier steal a Palestinian child for his barren and raped wife who cannot bear children (have a future). As the great niece of a woman made sterile by the Nazis and who stole no child, how dare MIJ appropriate her story?

The story is not only hysterical but it is poorly written. Large chunks of outside literature are dumped into the story, taking up space. The sentences are overly long (the opening line has 38 words) . Any attempt to be lyrical failed and just became melodrama.

Speaking of melodrama, the family is obviously cursed by God. There is nothing that goes right by them, they are constantly destroyed again and again. By the fifteenth misfortune, I became bored as it was a cheap attempt to play on emotions.

Two thumbs way down. A good author can tell a story where every character has their own voice. MIJ hates Jews (it's never Israelis, it's Jews) so much, she can't imagine them having agency, having their own narrative. They exist, like vampires or demons, only to torment.

Hotspur Aug 01, 2014

What a disgusting, hate filled book that paints a false picture of Israeli society. I am perfectly willing to believe there are two narratives who contradict each other. But a book that denies one side any narrative, which places her own thoughts into the mouths of others in order to whitewash history, that is unforgivable.

In Morning in Jenin (MIJ)'s world, there are no healthy, normal Jews. There are four primary Jewish characters in the story. Three are actually barren and sterile and the fourth was born Palestinian. Jews are shown to be cruel, venal, selfish, rootless, conscience-less, violent, immoral. At best, they are cowardly, and at worst, they are monsters. MIJ whitewashes years of Jewish history in the holy land, and even creates Israelis to parrot the Palestinian narrative. MIJ has the Israelis call themselves rootless thieves, (something Israelis would hotly deny). The book denies any connection to Israel. MIJ erases Jews of color and makes Nazi comparisons over and over again.

In a modern day blood libel, MIJ attempts to create a clumsy metaphor for what she sees is the theft of her land by making a Jewish soldier steal a Palestinian child for his barren and raped wife who cannot bear children (have a future). As the great niece of a woman made sterile by the Nazis and who stole no child, how dare MIJ appropriate her story?

The story is not only hysterical but it is poorly written. Large chunks of outside literature are dumped into the story, taking up space. The sentences are overly long (the opening line has 38 words) . Any attempt to be lyrical failed and just became melodrama.

Speaking of melodrama, the family is obviously cursed by God. There is nothing that goes right by them, they are constantly destroyed again and again. By the fifteenth misfortune, I became bored as it was a cheap attempt to play on emotions.

Two thumbs way down. A good author can tell a story where every character has their own voice. MIJ hates Jews (it's never Israelis, it's Jews) so much, she can't imagine them having agency, having their own narrative. They exist, like vampires or demons, only to torment.

d
DeltaQueen50
Feb 19, 2014

Both heart and gut-wrenching, Mornings In Jenin is a powerful read that resonated with me and left me feeling a sense of both loss and guilt. A moving story that takes one behind the headlines and gives us a personal look at the cost of disassembling a nation.

marg1library Apr 15, 2013

A well-written novel about the effect of the formation of the state of Israel upon one Palestinian family. It is a work of fiction, written entirely from the Palestinian point of view, but it is a moving story which is well worth reading.

m
mjoanne1
Nov 22, 2012

Heartachingly beautiful and heartbreakingly sad.

e
Eil_1
Apr 11, 2011

Profoundly moving - a magnificant book.

e
eastimorjen23
Apr 10, 2011

Sure, it is a slow start, but this book packs a historical and dramatic punch very well. You do need to read into it before the non-fiction excerpts from Edward Said appear, but this is intelligent, heartful, gut wrenching stuff. The story you don't get on the news. The human side of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the difficulties of migration to the US.
Read it!

p
phacelia
Feb 09, 2011

Seems highly formulaic -doesn't feel like a real story but a political tract really rubbing it in. Did not go beyond page 60.

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