Time for a book review! First off, acknowledgements. I received this book from BookishFirst courtesy of Green Leaf Books. It’s expected publication date is July 20, 2021.
I don’t want to be too spoilery since the book doesn’t come out for two months, so I’ll keep the review mostly detail free.
I read this book super quickly (especially considering the two children constantly climbing on me). I got sucked into the family saga and wanted to see so badly what would happen not only to Rasheed and Rasheeda (the twin main characters), but to their entire family, both biological and chosen.
This book is described as “A Family Saga across Ethnicity, Place, and Religion” and I think that is incredibly accurate. The story moves from Jerusalem/Beit Azar, Palestine to Beirut, Lebanon to Madrid, Spain to Houston, Texas and spans the time between 1920 and 1975. The characters that populate the story represent many nationalities and religions, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Protestant.
I expected the novel to focus a lot on the occupation of Palestine and the creation of Israel, given that the author is Palestinian-American and the beginning of the novel is set in Palestine and involves a Muslim Palestinian family and a Jewish Polish woman, but I was surprised to find that it was about something much more universal.
Ultimately, this novel is about the creation of a global community, connection, and the way immigrants and refugees create families and homes for themselves wherever they go, how they just keep pushing forward no matter what adversity they face. It is an ode to immigrants and refugees which I highly recommend.
I do have one slight note to make, just as a heads-up for people who decide to read this book. There are quite a few racy scenes in here, detailed descriptions of sex and discussions of pleasure.