SOUL IN EXILE: Lives of a Palestinian Revolutionary by Fawaz Turki

SOUL IN EXILE: Lives of a Palestinian Revolutionary

Email this review


Rage, couched almost exclusively in revolutionary rant and rhetoric, permeates nearly every page of this chronicle of a life that has been shaped by the aspirations and frustrations of the Palestinian people. It is easy to understand the source of that rage, less easy to discover what it is the author suggests as a solution to an intolerable situation. Turki, a poet and essayist, was raised from the time he was eight in the refugee camps and streets of Beirut. As a young man, he journeyed to Australia, France, and the US, an exile searching for a national and personal identity. Along the way, he met with similarly dispossessed Palestinian youths, married a young Jewish Marxist, sired a child, and become a spokesperson for the Arab cause. The marriage foundered, friends and relatives were imprisoned and even killed. Turki's anger is palpable, frequently to the detriment of his narrative and the effectiveness of his arguments. Describing his earlier volume, The Disinherited: Journal of a Palestinian Exile (1972), he admits the book was written ""with hardly any revision."" Revision and shaping would have increased the impact of this present work, which frequently approaches incomprehensibility as it swings wildly from biography to political polemic to rhapsodic celebration of Arab cultural life. Even readers thoroughly in sympathy with the plight of the Palestinian people are likely to find this curious amalgam of self-exoneration (there's a streak of male chauvism in many of Turki's attitudes), political tract, and historical synopsis confusing and unsatisfying. By attempting too much and by expressing himself in the language of excess, Turki has weakened his very real (and very urgent) message.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1988
ISBN: 0853457476
Publisher: Monthly Review Press