• Threads of Identity

    Widad Kamel Kawar

    A record of 50 years Kawar spent researching, collecting and preserving part of the Palestinian heritage.

  • Glafkos Clerides

    Niyazi Kizilyurek

    An intellectual journey in the modern political history of Cyprus.

  • Lovesong

    Afaf Zurayk

    An exquisite celebration of one of the deepest and strongest of human emotions.

  • Palestinian Embroidery Motifs

    Margarita Skinner

    The tradition of embroidery is one of the great art forms of village life in Palestine.

  • To Palestine with Love

    Najwa Kawar Farah

    Najwa Kawar Farah relates emotions of love and longing in this moving collection of poetry and paintings.

  • Rue du Mexique

    Suhail Bulos

    From tales of surreptitious teenage romances in Jerusalem, to day-long curfews during the Lebanese civil war and a renegade rooster in Beirut.

  • Vanished

    Ahmed Masoud

    A fictional story set against the political unrest in Palestine, following a young boy trying to find his father.

  • Nostos

    Maath al-Alousi

    Despite the layer of a sweet sadness that is suspended over it, the city does not sleep at night...

  • Jerusalemites

    Dr Hazem Zaki Nusseibeh

    As a senior politician and diplomat, the lure of Jerusalem, the city of his birth, remained strong.

 

In the Press

Find out what prominent press and media outlets have to say about our authors and publications. Browse through reviews in our 'in the press' library.

November 13, 2015

MEMO Palestine Book Awards - Vanished

Vanished is a fast-paced and compelling account of a young Palestinian boy in Gaza, Omar Ouda, grappling with the mysterious disappearance of his father and who throughout the course of the novel risks all to discover the truth. Set against a vivid backdrop of life in Gaza, it is an enthralling read that you will not want to put down.

 

Life in Gaza is captured carefully on every page as Omar continues his search for his father and is pushed along the way to make decisions that force him to choose between his family and his country. Lost, without a father and without a homeland, Omar desperately seeks comfort in the face of the unknown, knowing that neither his home nor his land is secure.

 

Set amidst the political upheaval that characterises Palestine's Gaza Strip, the fictional story is bound by historical events that have shaped Palestinian reality. The first and second intifada, the Oslo Accords and, later, Mubarak's downfall in Egypt's January 25th Revolution are all backdrops to the story within the novel, creating a tangible experience that the reader can relate to and understand without pushing it too far towards any form of political narrative. Here, Masoud manages to tread a fine line, allowing the reader to experience the clash of politics but steering the story away from dry political morals and instead focusing on the essence of what it means to be a Palestinian in Gaza; the struggle of simply trying to live amidst such turmoil.

 

Vanished is written in the form of a father's letter to his son, alternating between narrating the story to his child, and being the child at the same time. In this, a parallel between the present and the past is captured in an eerie reflection of events that seem destined to be repeated.

 

The childlike narrative at the beginning of the novel provides a stark contrast to the dark events occurring throughout, as the protagonist in the story faces a lot more than he bargained for when he begins his search for his father. As Omar is forced to mature before his time, the tale continues to turn darker yet maintains the child-like narrative, a poignant reminder that war knows no age and shows no mercy, even to children. Forced into a choice between empathy and morality, the reader is led into unchartered waters, torn between their sympathy for the boy and the knowledge of inevitable consequences that must follow his actions.

 

But the difficulties facing Palestinians do not end with childhood, not even when they leave the country, and are aptly captured in the novel when border officials treat Omar with contempt, throwing seemingly pointless rules at him created to make life difficult: "Good boy. Did we really have to do this to remind you that you are Palestinian? We are doing this for your own good, so you don't forget who you are and where you come from."

 

With the crux of those words echoing a sentiment that resonates beyond fiction, Vanished is a gripping tale that will hook you from the first chapter right to the end and take you along for an emotional roller-coaster ride, for no matter how much you think you can envision life in Palestine, this book shows you that you really can't.

 

Review by Noor Ahmad

*source

Vanished
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