Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries

Suad Amiry, Author . Pantheon $23 (207p) ISBN 978-0-375-42379-6

Amiry's parents were among the thousands of Palestinians who fled from their homes in 1948; they went to Amman, Jordan, where the author was brought up before attending the American University in Beirut to study architecture. She returned to Ramallah as a tourist in 1981, but then she met Salim Tamari, fell in love, married him and returned to the city, now heavily occupied by Israeli troops. This book is an attempt to illustrate the life of a middle-class, Westernized woman in an occupied territory: the daily anxieties and struggles with curfews, roadblocks, barricades, body searches, gunfire, endless red tape, discourtesy and general harassment—not to mention the less than peaceful presence of a mother-in-law taken in for safety's sake. The account, often surprisingly good-humored (as when Amiry realizes her dog has a Jerusalem passport though she does not), is vivid but somewhat sketchily based on diaries and e-mails; it gains in immediacy and relevance to current newspaper accounts what it may lack in comprehensiveness. The book was awarded Italy's Viareggio Virsilia Prize, and while the writing is unremarkable, the work serves as an important report from the front. (Oct. 18)

Reviewed on: 08/01/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-86207-811-6
Paperback - 207 pages - 978-1-4000-9649-7
Open Ebook - 136 pages - 978-0-307-42768-7
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