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Isabella Hammad

Autor(a) de The Parisian

2+ Works 540 Membros 20 Críticas

About the Author

Image credit: RCW Literary Agency

Obras por Isabella Hammad

The Parisian (2019) 402 exemplares
Enter Ghost (2023) 138 exemplares

Associated Works

We Wrote in Symbols: Love and Lust by Arab Women Writers (2021) — Contribuidor — 16 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
País (no mapa)
Local de nascimento
London, England, UK
Locais de residência
Brooklyn, New York, USA



Enter Ghost, unfortunately, did not work for me. I never felt engaged with the characters nor the plot.

I felt indifferent towards Sonia, our protagonist. She is an actress, divorced and has returned to Palestine to visit her sister, Haneen. Haneen has lived in Palestine all of her life, and teaches at a university in Tel Aviv. Once back in Palestine, Sonia finds herself roped into a production of Hamlet, on the West Bank. The story is about the the relationships Sonia and others have with Palestine and Israel , as well as their personal relationships.

It was a slow read, and I did not feel I learned anything new about Palestine or Israel, nor the conflict there. I understand the play, Hamlet, is banned in Israeli prisons, as it thought that it would incite violence, once again, the play never interested me. In the soliloquy "To be or not to be" , the Prince of Denmark weighs whether to take up arms or suffer in silence. So acting the play was in itself an act of rebellion and resistance. I felt the story was lacking both character development and plot. However, many have loved this novel, so perhaps it will click for you.
… (mais)
1 vote
vancouverdeb | 5 outras críticas | Apr 8, 2024 |
The strength of this book is presenting the difficulties Palestinians face living in Israel, especially if they reside in the west bank. The protagonist is an actor now living in London, but with many relatives in Haifa and other areas of Israel. She volunteers for a production of Hamlet that has many similarities to the lives of those who are oppressed. I did not care for the writing, as I felt many of the characters were analyzing all behaviors and were very unsure of their meaning. The protagonist had a great deal of trouble with relationships as did many of their characters, and that is typical of people who have been degraded their whole lives and consider themselves "other." The ending was tragic, and I wish we had been given more information.… (mais)
suesbooks | 5 outras críticas | Mar 31, 2024 |
It's 1914 and Midhat Kamal is travelling from his home in Nablus (now on the West Bank, then part of the Ottoman Empire) to study medicine at Montpellier. Lodging with the Molineu family he is soon attracted to the daughter Jeanette, and gradually his feelings are reciprocated. But Midhat's chance discovery that Docteur Molineu, a social anthropologist, is in fact studying him as an anthropological specimen for his paper 'The Effect of a New Language on a Primitive Brain' leads to a rupture between the two:

He felt a cramp in his stomach. He was a guest, but the host had trespassed. And he too had trespassed, and transgressed, with the host's daughter. Whose then was the crime? The spectre of his ignorance rose now before him. He thought he knew their public codes now, more or less — but the private ones? He had thought himself in the bosom of the family, capable — almost — of sitting in a chair in the study. He had thought it made no difference. But if he was the father's subject, how could he be the daughter's husband? One did not study one's sons-in-law.

When Jeanette turns away from him to support her father Midhat knows that he can no longer stay in the house and, abandoning his medical studies, he leaves for Paris ....

The war ends, Midhat returns to Nablus, the Ottoman Empire collapses and change is in the air in the city of Nablus. And the book follows Midhat's life as the world changes around him, almost until the start of Second World War. But his time in Paris and his early love for Jeanette continue to influence his life in unexpected ways ...

This is a well written book, but there are major faults with its construction in my opinion. There seem to be three novels competing for attention in [The Parisian] whose individual themes do not necessarily sit well together:
- a memoir of Midhat Kamala's life
- a history of Palestine and its politics between 1914 and 1936. This requires bringing in more characters and events as Midhat himself is somewhat apolitical.
- a social history of the inhabitants of Nablus and the different peoples making up its population

Any one of those themes could have worked well, but they in combination there are just too many characters, most of whom are not well defined, and too many unconnected events. A book that needed a really good editor.
… (mais)
SandDune | 13 outras críticas | Feb 4, 2024 |
Hammad provides a relatable description of what everyday life is like in this area of perpetual conflict. The reader can see how the conflict is both internal and external. I found the most interesting parts those which focused on the sisters and their family and at the same time I was frustrated by the lean character development.
ccayne | 5 outras críticas | Dec 27, 2023 |



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