Illuminating reading from a highly engaged author.



A noted Canadian nonfiction writer examines the Palestinian conflict through the viewpoints of known and emerging Palestinian writers.

Di Cintio (Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, 2013, etc.) first traveled to Israel in 1999. When he returned again in 2015, it was to seek out Palestinian writers to learn how they, rather than activists and politicians, saw the Arab-Israeli conflict. In this literary travelogue, the author records his encounters with Arab writers from the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. His first meeting was with a childhood friend of Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish. Both lived through the takeover of their village by Israeli soldiers in 1948, a moment that would mark Darwish and his writing forever. Fascinated by the lively literary scene in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Darwish’s home-in-exile for many years, Di Cintio explored the perspectives of other notable West Bank writers, including Lebanese-born Maya Abu-Alhayyat, who grew up knowing Palestine only “from what I saw on television.” A poet and short story writer, she eventually began writing for the most vulnerable of all Palestinians: children robbed of their innocence by parents and teachers who “want[ed] them to behave like adults and participate in the struggle.” In Jerusalem, Di Cintio met writers like 20-year-old Mohammed El-Kurd, whose poetry not only celebrated the contributions of women to the Palestinian struggle, but also actively “challenge[d] Palestinian masculine ideals.” Traveling to Nazareth, Di Cintio encountered Raji Bathish, a gay short story writer who vehemently rejected the idea that Israel’s accommodation of LGBTQ people was “evidence of [its] humanitarian virtue.” In the Gaza Strip, Di Cintio chatted with Asmaa al-Ghul, yet another outspoken young writer, whose stories about “ ‘honor killings,’ domestic abuse and government corruption have earned her scorn from Gaza’s authorities and an enduring notoriety from readers.” Interweaving history and politics, the book introduces Western readers to the modern Palestinian literary scene while celebrating the rich diversity of voices that comprise it.

Illuminating reading from a highly engaged author.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-64009-081-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.


Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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