A Girl's Paradise Lost: A Story of a Girl Growing Up in Love, Peace and War

A Girl's Paradise Lost: A Story of a Girl Growing Up in Love, Peace and War

A Girl's Paradise Lost: A Story of a Girl Growing Up in Love, Peace and War

A Girl's Paradise Lost: A Story of a Girl Growing Up in Love, Peace and War


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Sitt Zubaida's idyllic childhood on the al-Ajami Beach in Jaffa is nothing short of paradise. She spends her days with her loving family and with the enchanting sea, and spends her nights reading novels, immersing herself in stories of romance. But Sitt Zubaida's world is changed with the arrival of the Palestinian Nakba in 1948, and her paradise is lost forever. The girl and her family join the more than 750,000 Palestinian Arabs displaced from their homes. Due to the tumultuous Israel-Palestine conflict, Sitt Zubaida and her family move from home to home, city to city, and country to country, causing years of anguish as she reflects on what was and yearns to return to her paradise.

The partly autobiographical, partly fictionalized narrative of daily life and family traditions before and after the Nakba is interspersed with nostalgic memories and emotional reflections. Sitt Zubaida's story captures the deeply human experience of loss and displacement, combined with a love and longing that can never be extinguished. A Girl's Paradise Lost shines a humanizing light on the personal and social impact of a tragedy too often ignored in political accounts of historic Palestine and portrayals of Palestinians as either victims or terrorists.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781039165465
Publisher: FriesenPress
Publication date: 12/04/2023
Pages: 186
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.43(d)

About the Author

Nawal Halawa grew up in pre-Nakba Jaffa herself, just like her character Sitt Zubaida. She was one of the first female journalists in the Middle East covering regional politics in the 1970s and 1980s. Halawa was inspired to write this story when she visited her hometown for the first time after more than 40 years, wanting to immortalize the memories that flooded her at every street corner and landmark. Much of Sitt Zubaida's story comes from the author's own childhood memories. The character is based on the author's experiences and enriched by her mother's memories and interviews with other Palestinians who experienced the Nakba. With this book, Halawa hopes that readers will gain an appreciation of the humanity of Palestinians, their rich and loving familial connections, and their hopes and dreams.

Nawal Halawa has published five books in Arabic, including the story of Sitt Zubaida in 2014, which received the bestseller award at the Sharjah, Cairo, and Amman international book fair. Halawa founded Arab Cultural House in Montreal, which aims to promote Arabic culture through community engagement and activities.
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