Ahdaf Soueif
 
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Winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature.

"An important literary event…One of the finest existential accounts of Palestinian displacement that we now have." Edward W. Said

In 1966, the Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti, then twenty-two, left home to return to university in Cairo. Then came the Six Day War and Barghouti, like many young into Palestine. Thirty years later, he was finally allowed back.

A rickety wooden bridge over a dried-up river connects the West Bank to Jordan. It is this same bridge Barghouti crossed, little knowing that he would not be able to return. I Saw Ramallah, his extraordinarily beautiful account of homecoming, begins at this crossing, filled with its ironies and heartaches. In half bemusement, half joy, Barghouti journeys through Ramallah, keenly aware that the city he had left barely resembles the present-day city scarred by the Occupation – and he discovers in this displacement that the events of 1967 have made him permanently homeless.

Lyrical and impassioned, I Saw Ramallah is a profound reflection and lamentation on the conditions of exile. Eloquently translated by the acclaimed author Ahdaf Soueif, this is one of the most beautifully written explorations of the Palestinian predicament we have.

"Despite its joy and moments of exuberance this narrative return reenacts exile rather than repatriation. This is what gives it both its tragic dimension and its appealing precariousness. Ahdaf Soueif's excellent translation makes precisely this rather special tone available now to readers of English." Edward Said

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I saw Ramalah