Edited by Jo Glanville
 
I read this for Book 7. A book set in a country that fascinates you.
These short stories are amazing. They offer slices of life in Palestine as experienced and then told by women. Many of them are not political in any overt way – they deal with childhood memories of being mischievous, of buying shoes and not buying into societies ideas of what feminine is, of being a child in a beautiful country.
 
Others show how the political situation defines and determines so many actions and activities those of us in freer countries would perform without thought. Imagine spending a whole day travelling a short distance to visit relatively because of the numerous road blocks? Road blocks with what seems like very little purpose other than to show power.
 
And yet other stories talk very specifically about the awful vortex of death and killing that exists in this part of the world. You kill my child, I will kill two of yours – back and forth until all the children are dead.
 
All of the stories are powerful in their own way. Not a single one can be read and just flipped past, forgotten, consumed like junk food. They are all important and valuable. Each deserves time taken to read and digest. I will return to them all to reread and reconsider.
 
In each story the very humanness of the characters is so powerful. When we read of deaths and bombings or see footage on tv it is easy to forget that the victims, and perpetrators, are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, siblings – people just like us with all the same relationships and complications.
 
These stories show the humanity of the people caught up in the violence, and remind us that it is not politicians who live with the daily fear – it is the people.
 
In addition, there is a strong feminist thread through these stories. These are women getting on with it, making things happen, surviving often in the most dire of circumstances.
 
A wonderful collection of stories. Simply wonderful.
 
In the spirit of fairness, I shall also be reading a collection of Israeli short stories. And I am sure that the same humanity, experiences, fears and disruptions exist on that side of the story too.
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