Gaza Writes Back Review: Jean Said Makdisi

AUTHOR, BEIRUT FRAGMENTS: A WAR MEMOIR:

AUTHOR, BEIRUT FRAGMENTS: A WAR MEMOIR

This volume of short stories marks the fifth anniversary of the infamous 2008-9 Israeli attack on Gaza,  “Operation Cast Lead. ”  Our familiarity with what happened then does not lessen the power of the cruel lines etched into their writers’ memories, nor disguise their need to write and thus master the terrible realities of Palestinian life.

For anyone who values the raw voice of human experience over the rarefied refinements of professional writing, these short stories will come as a shock. Instead of the sanitized and heartless statistics of the toll taken by those weeks, or the impersonal photographs and official reports that record the brutal attack and the occupation, we have lightly fictionalized intimate, personal accounts of the lived experiences. Though death, illness and horrific violence stalk every page, the stories and their writers shine through as strong, truthful, and sometimes even cheerful or romantic.  Always, however, they clearly represent an unspoken determination to resist the violence, and a brave resolve not to surrender to despair.

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