As a young boy, Raja Shehadeh was entranced by a forbidden Israeli postage stamp in his uncle's album, intrigued by tales of a green land beyond the border.He couldn't have known then what Israel would come to mean to him, or to foresee the future occupation of his home in Palestine. Later, as a young lawyer, he worked to halt land seizures and towards peace and justice in the region. During this time, he made close friends with several young Jewish Israelis, including fellow thinker and searcher Henry. But as life became increasingly unbearable under in the Palestinian territories, it was impossible to escape politics or the past, and even the strongest friendships and hopes were put to the test.
Brave, intelligent and deeply controversial, in this book award-winning author Raja Shehadeh explores the devastating effect of occupation on even the most intimate aspects of life. Looking back over decades of political turmoil, he traces the impact on the fragile bonds of friendship across the Israel-Palestine border, and asks whether those considered bitter enemies can come together to forge a common future.
Shehadeh [...] is a great inquiring spirit with a tone that is vivid, ironic, melancholy and wise. (Colm Toibin)
A courageous and timely meditation on the fragility of friendship in dark times, illuminating how affiliation and love[...]can have a profound political power. (Madeleine Thien)
Written with fierce clarity and unusual compassion, this book touches the human heart of a political tragedy. (Gillian Slovo)
The question of how and if friendships can survive across political divides is a resonant one - and I can think of no one better than Raja Shehadeh to treat it with the wisdom, toughness and humanity that it deserves. (Kamila Shamsie)
In the dark agony of the Palestine-Israel conflict, Raja Shehadeh offers a rare gift: a lucid, honest, unsparing voice. His humanity and wisdom are invaluable. (Claire Messud)
The wisdom and elegance of Raja Shehadeh's thinking and writing are more necessary than ever. This book...appeals to - and speaks of - an insistence on dignity, regardless of borders and of endless war. Raja Shehadeh is a buoy in a sea of bleakness. (Rachel Kushner)
Brilliantly evokes the Palestinian tragedy by way of a complex friendship. This is a fiercely intelligent and honest account. (Ian McEwan)
Shehadeh describes with courage and grace the internal struggle to remain fair. (The New Yorker)
This is one of the most intensely human and humane books one is likely to read in a very long while, replete with an elevating dignity and suffused with deep melancholy. (Trevor Royle Edinburgh Sunday Herald)