Blue Between Sky and Water, The

Abulhawa, Susan

  24 Reviews

In 1947, life for the Palestinian Baraka family is irrevocably changed when they are forcibly removed from their village by a fledgling Israel, destined for life in a refugee camp. Centred around a cast of strong women - from Nazmiyeh the matriarch through to Nur her American granddaughter - this story of dispossession is leavened with mysticism and anchored in the strength of family.

Bringing into vivid relief the hardship and suffering of Gaza, this is a lyrical and haunting novel of Palestinian/Israeli conflict.



TAUR 061
It isnt often one hears the voice of Palestinians, in this case, a fictitious one. For those who read the book - some found the interweaving of mysticism with the narrative difficult- there was a resounding feeling that we had been enlightened about the Gaza Strip. As always, one was inspired by the resilience of the human spirit and how easily through no choice of our own, we can become victims of a power beyond our control. Life does go on no matter our circumstances.
Mixed reactions. Some found it an educational and inspiring story of resilience, while others struggled to get into it and didn't like the mysticism and poetic writing. Most of us found the names confusing and remembering which character was which, hard. A well -written moving story of incredibly resilient women who found a way to still enjoy and celebrate life. The American character added depth to the story by exploring the different cultures, and how someone who appears to have it all can be so lost, while those who have such hardship can be rich in love and family connection.
HAVE 016
The entire group found this to be a poignant, tragic and sobering read. The tragedy of this Palestinian family was made bearable by the lyrical writing - we focused on the themes of strong, loving and resilient women and the importance of kinship. We are saddened by this intractable conflict.
We found it a disturbing read, but thought provoking. Others did not enjoy it at all.
RAUM 001
This novel gives the Palestinian point of view of the conflict in the Middle East. We had mixed reactions to it, mainly over the mystical episodes.
WELL 213
A fascinating opportunity to understand a little about the plight of Palestinians, their long history, and the repressive actions of the Israeli state. We loved the strong women!
We all loved the book. Gave us all a new perspective on the Palestine war.
A harrowing story for all of us, but we found it riveting and the basis for a good discussion.
CHCH 509
We all loved this book. We love Susan's poetic writing and her ability to cleverly foreshadow things. We love the way she creates such strong female bonds.
All thought this was an excellent book, well written with great characters, mixing fiction with real life. The family tree was useful but many of us had to go back and forth many times to keep track. The general feeling at the end was a mixture of anger and sadness at the humiliations and deprivations that the Palestinians had to endure at the hands of the Israelis, who do not appear to be censured by the rest of the world. The notes were excellent as well.
The majority of our group thoroughly enjoyed this book, a combination of fiction and reality, beautifully if not poetically written. We all learnt a lot about the political situation in Palestine and their conflict with Israel. Strong female characters, we wondered if perhaps Nur was not almost autobiographical to the author Excellent notes but the questions complicated and too long. Appreciated the family tree but would have found a glossary for the Palestinian terms and words helpful. Recommend this book very highly.
Most of the group loved the book and particularly the strongly drawn female characters. The structure was slightly confusing to start with, but the evocative writing engages the reader and the story becomes clearer. There was mixed reaction to the mystical elements but we were all incredibly moved by the story, which is told completely from one perspective, but that's understandable given the background of the author. It led to much discussion about the political situation between Israel and Palestine, particularly trying to fill in the historical background that is not covered in the book.
NAP 011
Enjoyed by all. Generated much discussion (and research) on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and we are all now more knowledgeable. Loved the portrayal of the characters.
WELL 117
Much to discuss in this story. A little difficult to work out all the names.
CART 003
Wonderful discussion. We all loved the style and evocative nature of the writing, and felt we understood and appreciated so much more about the Palestinian conflict.
CHCH 092
Confronting and harrowing but worth reading to the end. Good to see the situation from the Palestine side.
ASHB 012
We liked learning about a culture we knew little about. We were able to connect to the main characters especially Nur, and we kept reading to find out what happened to her.
ARIA 001
Most of us enjoyed this book and found much to discuss about it.
We all enjoyed this book - it whetted our appetites for more information on the area and the historical problems there.
AUCK 135
The book was certainly thought-provoking, and we feel we now have a different perspective. Excellent notes.
TAPA 001
A really good read. The beginning is hard, but worth pushing through as the writing is excellent. This story generated an excellent discussion within our group. It encouraged the pursuit of further knowledge and rethinking of previously formed opinions of Gaza conflict.
ROTO 002
A very topical and evocative picture of Palestinian life and history. Family and relationships were well drawn. There was some sense of contrivance in depicting Nur and her life in the US. The book led to great discussion on Israel and Arab lands, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
AUCK 027
Interesting, revealing, horrifying and well worth reading.
CULV 001
Our group found this to be an amazingly clever book, especially the interweaving of her own story into this story of Palestine under siege. We thought her characters were very real and easy to imagine. The importance of family togetherness along with the celebration of food were features of their resilience, helping them get through so much trauma and tragedy. The mystical and spiritual elements which wove the story together was another fascinating aspect to this read.