Book Reviews

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

Book – Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

Pages – 338 pages, Paperback

Genre – Historical Fiction, Israel, Politics, War

Publisher – Bloomsbury

Rating: 5/5 starts

About the Book

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa is a tale spanning generations of a Palestinian family. They are forced from their olive-farming village, Ein Hod, to live in Jenin refugee camp after Israel’s formation in 1948.

Spanning across 5 countries and 4 generations, from 1940s to 2002, the beginning of the Israel-Palestine war which never ends. The war which is still ongoing.

We follow the Abulhejo family as they live through a half century of violent history. The novel’s voice is that of Amal, the granddaughter.

The book takes you though many traumatic character’s stories stretching backward and forward in time. We will learn about Amal’s brothers, what happened to them and what fate hold for them. But more than anything else, we learn more about Amal in this book.

A story of love and loss of every possible relationship one can have, of various stages of life one lives under normal circumstances.

Book Review

Mornings in Jenin hauntingly captures the poignant realities of war and displacement through the lens of a Palestinian family. Dare I say, you are not ready for this book. I wasn’t. Putting everything into words is going to be difficult, but I’ll try. It is haunting and heart-wrenching.

It’s a shame that it took reading this book for me to realize and understand the gravity of the Israel-Palestine war. I have been trying to stay aware of the current affairs between Israel and Palestine but none covers the horror, pain, anger the way Susan Abulhawa did in Mornings in Jenin.

The book is split into eight parts. Each section narrates a different part of a family’s story in Ein Hod during times of struggle and war. In the first part, called “El Nakba” (The Catastrophe), you learn about Amal’s family leaving their home and heading to Jenin because of Israel’s takeover. 

In the second part, “El Naksa” (The Disaster), you see the brutal side of war where children suffer because of land disputes. In the third part, “The Scar of David,” Basima’s lost son, now an Israeli soldier named David, this is his story. The remaining five parts follow Amal’s journey to the United States and back to her homeland.

With exquisite prose, the narrative is full of raw emotion, delving unflinchingly into the brutal truths of war. It talks about how bad wars are without leave out any of the scary details. There was a point where I almost believed that the bad things are over and only good things are in store for Amal. But god how I wish it to be true. Things went horribly wrong when I was rooting for the good days.

Would I Recommend this Book?

Absolutely! It is a deeply moving book. Please read it. You’ll grow to love the characters like they’re your own friends. You’ll understand the unfairness they face and might even feel guilty for the privileges in your own life.

Abulhawa weaved a story following a proper political timeline jumping generations after generations. And with this, she narrates the on-goings at Jenin and the characters who live and die here. The story is full of sad and unfair things. Well, no one said life is fair and this book is here to prove it. What breaks my heart is that what started in the 1960s has still not ended. The story resonates so much today with moral urgency and a sense of humanity.

The author has brilliantly penned a very serious topic in the best way possible. It was like living with all of the people in it, generation after generation. It is a must-read, without any second thoughts.

To be honest, the book markedly feels fiction. Millions of Palestinians are living its horror as you read this line.

Also Read – Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Buy Mornings in Jenin Now!

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My Favorite Quotes From Mornings in Jenin

“How does one live in a world that turns away from such injustice for so long? Is this what it means to be Palestinian, Mother?”

― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin 

 

“To have lived so long, only to be crushed to death by a bulldozer. Is this what it means to be Palestinian?”

― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin 

 

“When I was a child, Haj Salem told me that answers can be found in the sky if you look long and hard enough.”

― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin 

 

“The roots of our grief coil so deeply into loss that death has come to live with us like a family member who makes you happy by avoiding you, but who is still one of the family. Our anger is a rage that Westerners cannot understand. Our sadness can make the stones weep. And the way we love is no exception”

― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin 

 

“Sometimes, letting go is the only way to hold on.”

― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin

 

“Through the darkest nights, the sun still rises.”

― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin

 

 

“Amal,I believe that most Americans do not love as we do. It is not for any inherent deficiency or superiority in them. They live in the safe, shallow, parts that rarely push human emotions into the depths where we dwell.”

― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin 

 

“An instant can crush a brain and change the course of life, the course of history.”

― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin

Kinjal Parekh

Book Blogger || Finance Blogger || Mumbai, India || Indian Booktuber. Kinjal Parekh is highly passionate about reading books and learning about history. Her favorite genres include historic fictions, history non-fiction, mind-body-spirit and poetry books. She loves when a book makes her cry and make her feel vulnerable and emphatic. Apart from books, Kinjal loves to explore and understand how the financial and the economic world works for which she keeps reading economic, financial and business books. One book at a time, she aims to motivate non-readers cultivate the reading habit. She can talk about books all day and night and often tends to cancel out-side plans to stay back home and read a book.

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