Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Life in Contemporary Palestine

Marcello Di Cintio. Counterpoint, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-64009-081-1
Di Cintio (Walls: Travels Along the Barricades) offers a powerful and perceptive reflection on Palestinian culture in a memoir that mixes travelogue and literary appreciation. He is surprised to travel through Israel and the occupied territories and discover so many “brokers of beauty”: poets, playwrights, and novelists producing stories of growing up, falling in love, disapproving parents, having conflicts over religion, and breaking rigid gender roles. Di Cintio writes, “The women of Gaza write themselves a life on the page that Gaza itself denies them.” Di Cintio also explores the works of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and dives into café culture, interviewing a new generation of writers who discuss over coffee and shisha, or hookah, their nuanced feelings about occupation, cross-generational trauma, the burdens of history, and their insistence on writing works that privilege storytelling over revolutionary rhetoric. Di Cintio’s prose is wonderfully descriptive, whether portraying libraries and bookstores dedicated to preserving and promoting a cultural history threatened with elimination or recounting stories of novels being written in prison on cigarette wrappers. This is a refreshing and hopeful reminder that on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are countless people who wish to live their lives free of the hatred borne of geopolitical conflict. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/13/2018
Release date: 09/04/2018
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-86492-898-6
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