From: "John E. Marsh"
Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2006 16:04:42 -0500
Subject: The Palestinian Patient - a book review by Raja Shehadeh
This is a review [by Raja Shehadeh, himself a Palestinian refugee, in The Nation) of Elias Khoury's epic novel Gate of the Sun [original Arabic title Bab al-Shams]. The novel first was published in 1988 in Arabic and has now just been released in English. The novel is an epic tale centered on the 1948 Palestinian refugees who sought existence in Lebanon (where they still remain as dispossessed and most of them in camps).
QUOTED EXCERPT: The secret history of Palestinian border infiltrations into Israel in the early years of the state is a central element of Khoury's story, and it gives Gate of the Sun much of its novelty and power. . . . The Nakba was the formative event for the Palestinians as a nation, particularly for the refugees in Lebanon who remain in camps and whose fate has been darker than that of any other Palestinian group. Khoury listened to their tales with compassion and commitment. He is among the few who have given literary expression to their memories. Palestinians tend to expect that every work about Palestine must encompass the whole of the Palestinian experience. It is unfortunate that Khoury, who is not Palestinian, was also motivated to achieve this impossible goal. Still, Gate of the Sun is important for trying to capture the Palestinian experience during and after 1948. Although it overreaches, the novel is unique and powerful, and Archipelago Books is to be commended for making it available to an American audience. END QUOTE