Mornings in Jenin

Abulhawa, Susan

  22 Reviews

Palestine 1948. The Abulheja family are forcibly removed from their ancestral home in Ein Hod and sent to live in a refugee camp in Jenin. Through Amal, the bright granddaughter of the patriarch, we witness the stories of her brothers: one, a stolen boy who becomes an Israeli soldier; the other who in sacrificing everything for the Palestinian cause will become his enemy. Amal's own dramatic story threads its way through six decades of Israeli-Palestinian tension: it is one of love and loss, of childhood, marriage, parenthood, and finally the need to share history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has. [Taken from the book cover.] What's Hot - August 2013

Comments from Groups

A very polemic book that deeply moved us and kickstarted a very lively and deep conversation. A real eye-opener to a little heard Pakistan perspective... Lower Hutt 006

Great book that changed our perspective on the situation in the Middle East. Auckland 208

Fantastic book. One of the best. People in the book feel very human and inspiring. Auckland 256

A very powerful, heart-wrenching novel. Taupo 007

Although enlightening, the book was crushingly, unrelentingly depressing. Heart-wrenching to see families holding on to hope and love in the face of extreme adversity. Queenstown 10

Everyone found this book upsetting and were moved by it. "Should be read by all" Martinborough 001

We nearly all agreed that this was a story that should be told, but we disagreed on how well the author had done it. Some of us thought that her language was poetic and spiritual, others thought it was embarrassing purple prose. Wanganui 011

The book had a big impact on everybody. Although in recent years we have heard more of the Palestinian side, this brought home the huge bias in the information we had back then. The poetic writing, the descriptions, the emotional impact, the trauma, the daily lives, the Persian poets - so wide ranging with great beauty and humanity. Napier 026

"Mornings in Jenin' was well received by our group. It was the first time any of us had really read anything about the conflict from the Palestinian point of view. One of our group had worked on a kibbutz and her input was interesting. A comment was made that the shuffling from first to third person wasn't a helpful technique, and that there were too many characters, but overall very positive feedback. Christchurch 395

An amazing book. So beautifully and poetically written about lives caught up in both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Great love, great sorrow - life and death in generations of families. All this without judgement or taking sides. We very much appreciated this book. Wellington 130

'Mornings in Jenin' was a great hit with the group. We found it a moving insight into the reality of the refugee experience. The characters were convincing, and heroic in enduring the circumstances they were forced into. Hamilton 029

We think this is a five star novel. Beautifully written and you feel as though you are living through it all. Tragic yet somehow beautiful. Highly recommended. Nelson 056

Mixed reaction, but the majority absolutely loved the book - others were 'sickened' by the sad story. A very grim tale! Very rich language, enlightening politically and we learned something of history we didn't understand before - gaining a different perspective. Some found it hard to get into, especially the names. Beautifully written - the turns of phrase and poetry. Christchurch 240

Fantastic book. Everyone agreed that it's the best book we have read over the last year. Clarkville 001



WELL 206
An incredibly emotional story, especially topical at this time. Engendered discussion on the ongoing sad state of Palestinian peoples.
A heart wrenching, beautifully written novel. We were all so glad we read it. We learned about history and the lives of endearing characters.
What an incredible story. It was a fascinating but harrowing read. What a way to give insight into the experiences of the Palestinian people. Storytelling at its finest.
We all learnt a lot from this book.
Heart wrenching. Informative, descriptive and so emotive.
NELS 089
All loved the book - tragic but informative and BEAUTIFULLY written.
WELL 236
Absolutely loved it.
AUCK 441
Eye-opening. A different perspective to what we heard in mainstream media while growing up. Heartbreaking.
CHCH 509
All seven of us loved this book. We felt that it provoked so much thought, discussion and research throughout the entire month we were reading it. Not only did we enjoy what we learned but also loved the writing style and found it very poetic.
AUCK 412
Of those who read the book, we all agreed it was a great read. It opened up an interesting discussion about persecution and we all felt that we learnt more about the atrocities in that particular part of the world.
CHCH 489
Most of our group found this very interesting and liked learning more about the Palestinian perspective in depth. We were mixed on the writing style, some of us really enjoyed it and others did not.
WELL 079
We found this book educational, memorable and right up there in importance to read. Fictionalising factual events made the issues more real. We were disappointed in the questions supplied (also in the back of the book) and I have sent the questions we found online that were more pertinent to how we discussed the book.
This book is one of the best we have read and provoked the most discussion of any of the books. Highly recommended.
MAST 003
We really enjoyed this book. It has all the elements of a great novel; complex characters, fresh writing, and you develop a knowledge and compassion for a nation of people whose treatment has been, and still is, appalling. Highly recommended.
Fantastic book. Everyone agreed that it was the best book we have had over the last year.
ASHB 004
So much discussion about this book. Story raw and hard hitting although clumsy writing at times. "Opened our eyes".
All enjoyed it.
AUCK 395
Mixed response to the book. Unanimous agreement that it was deeply sad - perhaps too much grief injected into one novel.
AUCK 037
Gave us a much greater understanding of the Palestinian position within this tragic conflict. Many members enjoyed the eloquent language around the themes of love, land and family, as well as the loss of loved ones.
WELL 216
We all loved this book!! Best book so far!! Beautifully written. Very interesting to get the 'often not mentioned' Palestinian side of the conflict. It was also a really well researched book, as several members 'googled' to confirm some of the events mentioned.
NELS 065
We all really enjoyed this book, and we spent a lot of time discussing the themes of the book.
AUCK 039
A very important book to read - the real side of Palestine. We found it beautifully written, and so moving that many tears were shed while we read!