Mother of Strangers: A Novel
Jaffa, 1947, is a city on a precipice, though not all know it yet. It will soon be part of the struggle between the established nation of Palestine and the new state of Israel. Between these two nations and the larger fight they represent are caught thousands of people, all trying to live their everyday lives as best they can. Two of these people are Subhi and Shams, a pair of teenagers whose romance is shattered by the sudden war.
Based on real events and real people, at times the novel feels like a textbook. In an attempt to make clear all that is happening and to explain some cultural aspects, Amiry sometimes resorts to long expository paragraphs that feel like summaries of things that could have been shown in action or which pull the reader from the flow of the narrative. Other times, I felt Amiry shied away from really showing the horrors the characters faced, glossing over them in summaries. This is a powerful story which deserves to be told and told well. Unfortunately, the book didn’t always meet the expectations I had for it.
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