Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story

Article excerpt

In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story By Ghada Karmi, Verso, 2002, 451 pp. List: $16; AET: $11.

Like Edward Said's Out of Place, Karmi's memoir is a story of loss and alienation, but it is also a story of growth, adaptation and reclamation. I cried when I read the first page, and I cried again at the end. In the pages that depicted Karmi's life in between, however, I traveled with her back to her early days, when the incomprehensible events of 1948 punctuated her childhood bliss. Her ensuing exile to Damascus, at first painful, soon evolved into more of an extended family reunion; testimony of a child's resilience. When only the nuclear family moved to England, however, where her father could find work with the BBC's Arabic serivice, Karmi was exiled once again, and once again she adapted.

In Search of Fatima recounts the story of a little girl who doesn't understand, an adolescent anxious to fit in, and a proud young woman reclaiming her identity. It is also the story of an old nation, besieged by outside forces, ripped apart and forced to adapt. But the nation, too, ultimately recovers its pride and reclaims its identity as it attempts to reclaim its land. …

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