Saturday, November 03, 2007

Tasting the Sky, by Ibtisam Barakat

In flashback, Ibtisam tells the story of her growing up as a Palestinian refugee after the Six-Day War of 1967. On one side, it is an extraordinary story of survival, but it is also a tale of an ordinary childhood. She plays, she has successes and failure. She struggles with fear and loneliness (an early love for the alphabet, a lost pet, and a few more sinister encounters).

While mostly random anecdotes and with a narrative that speeds up and slows down annoyingly at will, this is still a charming and beautiful book. Barakat is an excellent writer (her early love with words shows through). Her story is engaging and revealing. It won't solve the problems of the region, but it will give you an interesting window through which to view them.

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