The Scar of David

The Scar of David

5.0 7
by Susan Abulhawa

Editorial Reviews

Historical Novels Review
This complex story is beautifully told, weaving in historical events that are familiar, but which in the U.S. at least have always been filtered through an Israeli point of view. The perspective is brutal, yet ultimately not without hope. And it is elevated by Abulhawa's use of language, as rich and surprising as an exotic flower. She draws us into the nightmare of her heroine's existence with convincing passion.
—Susanne Dunlap
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Abulhawa's first novel is an earnest but heavy-handed depiction of the 20th century through Palestinian eyes. The book opens in the Arab village of Ein Hod, outside Jerusalem, as a farmer named Yehya witnesses the destruction of his home in the war following Israel's founding in 1948. The book then follows Yehya's granddaughter, Amal, from her youth in a refugee camp to America (strange but full of opportunity), then her reunion with her family in Lebanon. There she falls in love with a doctor named Majid and becomes pregnant, but returns to America as many of her loved ones become enmeshed in the brutal Lebanese civil war of the 1980s and the Israeli occupation. With the Oslo peace accords, Amal finally returns to the country of her birth, but finds that the situation there remains tense and violent. While Amal's story is undeniably tragic, Abulhawa surrounds her with paper-thin characters, Arab and Jewish alike. The Palestinians want "only to live on their land as they always had," while the Israelis are murderers and baby-snatchers who use the Holocaust to justify their actions. Equal parts clumsy history lesson and melodrama, this book does little to shed light on one of the world's most complex conflicts. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
Every now and again a literary work changes the way people think. Abulhawa, 2003 winner of the Edna Andrade Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Award, has crafted a brilliant first novel about Palestine. The book opens in the 1940s, in the small village of Ein Hod, before the forced relocation of residents to the Jenin refugee camp. Once in the settlement, a young girl named Amal Abulhawa becomes the story's focus. Through Amal's eyes, readers see the daily routines of generations of refugees and glimpse the indignities imposed on Palestinians by the Israeli army; they'll also see people fall in love, have babies, and develop an appreciation for poetry and scholarship. While some readers might see this novel as anti-Semitic, it is not. Indeed, Abulhawa goes to great lengths to highlight the universal desire of all people for a homeland. Furthermore, Abulhawa's compassion for American victims of 9/11 and for those who suffered in the Holocaust illuminates what it means to be humane and spiritually generous. The Pennsylvania-based Abulhawa, herself Palestinian, has crafted an intensely beautiful fictionalized history that should be read by both politicians and those interested in contemporary politics. Highly recommended.-Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Journey Publications, LLC PA
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

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The Scar of David 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
with you Susan... I am back in memory.. many wounds opened.. to my parents and grandparents journey .. anyone reads the novel would begin to understand the rate and the grief, the fear and the sadness that make stones weep.. Susan told the story of my Palestinian family too. Rana - Canada
Guest More than 1 year ago
At no time in my life has a book had such a firm grip on my heart and soul. The most intriguing aspect of Susan Abulhawa¿s writing style is her innate ability to make you feel you are in every scene as a witness, resulting in a vast range of emotions including love, joy, sadness, horror, anger, forgiveness, wonderment, but never indifference. Though fictional, the characters soon become real, as if you¿ve known, spoken, and walked with each of them. Susan Abulhawa has an exceptional talent and has given the world a beautiful gift, The Scar of David.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found The Scar of David to be a beautifully written, powerful novel which places real life characters we come to care deeply about in a historical narrative that must continue to be brought to light in a world that tries to place hoods over the facts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
susan has woven together the human thread i have never been able to express when sharing my amazed and appalled passions about palestine. the pages of my honored volume are strewn with tears of compassion, heartbreak, primal rage and primal love...but, more importantly, an entrenched awareness of strengthened hope in that, as dr. said desired, a narrative has emerged that will bring a new voice to the ancient, twisted ironies of this deformed oppression. may that voice light in the ear of receptive hearts...for the way to protect the hearts of those yet to be born is to break the glass cover over those who live now in shallow sleep.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Abulhawa has composed a marvelous story that weaves history with fiction, personal experience with imagination into a dynamic novel that offers points of contact for readers of many backgrounds. Her narration thick with motherly affection and human virtue invites the reader to read slowly and truly experience the story she is trying to tell. Ein Hod, outside of current-day Jenin district, is the village of the Abul Heija's, a rural Palestinian family who are forced to flee during the war in 1948. Amal Abul Heijah, the granddaughter of the family, takes center stage as a symbol of hope and the tenacious will of survival, creativity, and love, even if doubt, depression, and poverty cloud her dreams and opportunities. Amal's struggle for self-identification, caused by several layers of displacement from family, land, and home, is constantly accompanied by her detailed memory, which ultimately leads her to her destination. A must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everyone should read Susan Abulhawa¿s The Scar of David. This story of a Palestinian family¿s journey through four generations of Israeli occupation offers beautiful, balanced, and intensely humanistic insight into the experience of both Palestinians and Israelis. Abulhawa artfully demonstrates how both occupier and occupied fall victim to this conflict, yet she paints a clear picture of the magnitude of its effect on Palestinians ¿ that over and over again Palestinians find themselves at the butt end of an Israeli or American rifle, in the groping hands of soldiers at checkpoints, and as the targets of missile massacres, always looking over their backs at a homeland razed by bulldozers and overrun by soldiers and settlers. However, what is most impressive is that she attains this degree of complexity around the Palestinian experience without dehumanizing Israelis or minimizing their fears and suffering. Rather, by telling the story as a series of first person narratives punctuated with third person accounts, Abulhawa is able to connect the personal with the political and give readers the sense that we are all ensnared in the same terrible situation, though its impact is certainly felt differently on each side. Anyone who seeks to understand how this conflict affects the real people who live it every day must read this book, as Abulhawa leaves us with the hope of change and a strong sense of the vastness of what it means to live under and within occupation. But it is not merely the structure and the story of the book that makes it such a good read. Abulhawa¿s masterful narrative voice, splendid poetic prose, and dialogue that dances alive in a reader¿s head glued the book to my hands, and I was unable to put it down, often overcome with strong emotional reactions to the characters¿ experiences. I finished this book in just 24 hours ¿ it is rare to encounter such a compelling read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book traces the life of a Palestinian family from the late 1940 to now and examines the impact of the occupation on their lives, and their connection to the land. It starts with their lives in Ein Hud before the occupation in 1948, then moves to Jenin (refugee camp) before and after 1967. It touches on a sleuth of human quarks ranging from that strongest of bonds, the bond between mother and daughter over three generations, to the concept of displaced identity of a boy Ismail snatched from his mom's arms as a baby by an Israeli soldier to be raised as Jewish boy (David) to find later that he is an Palestinian Arab. It also touches on lifelong human connections that transcendent blood, space, time and religion, on blood relationship and kids robbed of their innocence and childhood, assuming roles of care takers, of mothers and fathers to each other in the face of losing theirs. It finally shows the resilience of the human spirit to crawl from the rubble of the occupation to claim back their humanity, refusing to be crashed and submersed into insignificant insects with no face, no history and no humanity. The narrative is beautiful, poetic, sad, and very moving and the rhetorical devices are powerful and unconventional. Ms. Abulhawa has touched on the deepest of emotions and feelings and was able to have love with all its facets triumph and stand tall, rising above a world full of ugliness, despair and human cruelty. I have connected with the book in ways I haven't felt about any book I read since Ahdaf Soueif¿s ¿In the Eyes of the Sun.¿ My hat to Ms. Abulhawa, what a rocking first novel.