The Blue Between Sky and Water is a brave and inspiring novel of forbearance and hope, reclaiming and preserving the cultural wealth of Palestine. Abulhawa writes with passion and honesty to create a profound retelling of the personal histories of her people in this epic multi-generational tale of loss, love and humanity. This is a must read. View all 3 comments. Apr 30, RoseMary Achey rated it really liked it. From the author of Mornings in Jenin Most American's only know of Gaza from what they see on the nightly news. Unfortunately, much of the news is colored by the fact the United States and Israel are strong allies.
We join a multi-generational Palestinian family living in a Gaza refugee camp. We celebrate their joys and suffer their losses. This book will greatly expand your empathy and understanding toward the Palestinian From the author of Mornings in Jenin Most American's only know of Gaza from what they see on the nightly news. View 1 comment. What an extraordinary book. It sure packs one hell of an emotional punch. Actually I think there is too much emotion running through my body to write a review! To see Gaza, to see the Palestinians, through these characters and the stories that weaved throughout the book, from generation to generation, was indeed something special.
This is a book for and about women, strong women, women who know what it means to endure, to love, to live. The men are there, in the background, and part of the stori What an extraordinary book. The men are there, in the background, and part of the stories, but it's a wonderful tale about your roots, your family, and discovering who you are, and what it means to be loved and part of something. I loved the mystical element with Khaled but I understand that wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. I hated the violence, when it happened, and some scenes upset me, but somehow, like the characters, I learnt to endure it.
Because the love and friendship that binds everyone together is greater than it. I loved this book. May 14, Lolly K Dandeneau rated it really liked it. This is the other side of the story, so to speak- about refugees forced into the Gaza strip. Nazmiyeh is the matriarch, and we follow generations of the family as they suffer the humiliations and struggles of displacement exile really. With a daughter sick with cancer and cut from resources medicine included she will turn to the beekeepers wife for healing.
But it is more than just a story about horrific history, there is no doubt it has shaped and destroyed the family in different ways. The This is the other side of the story, so to speak- about refugees forced into the Gaza strip. There is so much loss and abuse and yet Nazmiyeh holds the family together.
There is magical realism as well which really made for an interesting unexpected dynamic to this tale. My heart ached with the beautiful love Nur and her grandfather shared- only to be rent by the horrible situations she ends up in upon losing him. My favorite quote comes from her grandfather, who loved to tell her stories. We are composed of our stories.
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The human heart is made of the words we put in it. If someone ever says mean things to you, don't let those words go into your heart, and be careful not to put mean words into other people's hearts. It was interesting to read about the women as being fiery and strong, not because I don't believe they are but many people in the western world often believe them to be submissive and retreating.
They don't imagine a woman can carry a family or be respected, but mothers are often revered. It is easy to dismiss a people and never imagine their sufferings, this novel certainly sheds light on the conflict. Politics aside, for the family tale alone the novel is wonderfully written. There are many wonderful quotes I highlighted, and the writing is good. There is much horror and pain, but there is love and hope as well.
I have always enjoyed reading different perspectives, we really all do carry stories not just of how we are shaped by our family good or bad but also by our people collectively, whatever country we call home. We all suffer over those we love and hope to protect, regardless of our ethnic background or religious beliefs, to think otherwise is to dehumanize. The visions make sense at the end,' that place between the sky and water where all is as it once was, and where all will meet again. Hearing about it is one thing, living it is another. History is rife with brutality and there is not a people incapable of committing atrocities, good and bad- the lines blur.
The only thing we have to share our experience is often storytelling. Well done. The truth is there are not enough stars for this book, so I will suffice with 5. The fear I had with this book was, "would it live up to Susan Abulhawa's previous book, Mornings in Jenin?
The Blue Between Sky and Water
Could Susan really do it again? The entire time I was reading this book, I had a lump in my throat, and was often moved to both tears and laugh The truth is there are not enough stars for this book, so I will suffice with 5. The entire time I was reading this book, I had a lump in my throat, and was often moved to both tears and laughter. Abulhawa has written with a poignancy that is so characteristic of her writing, yet even more matured and refined since Mornings in Jenin. She gets better with each book!
It was not just the storyline but the very prose she utilises which is so striking and deeply emotive.
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As with her previous book, she has the skill to develop characters in such a way that I was fully invested in each. I loved and hated fiercely throughout this book. The storyline is nothing short of marvellous and courageous in equal measure. Susan brings to the centre stage the plight of Palestinians and more specifically Gaza and holds us all to account with honesty, integrity, passion, wisdom and bravery. This isn't just a work of historical fiction, but an act of defiance and rebellion, a refusal to allow the Palestinian narrative of their history and their homelands to be so easily and irreverently whitewashed.
I loved the way Susan weaves real life heroes like Dr Madz Gilbert and Rachel Corrie into the narrative, forever reminding us that though this is a work of fiction, it's more real than we realise. I loved the omnipresent narrative of Khaled, which was so cleverly done, a lesser skilled writer could have made it a very confusing affair, but she wrote with mastery. I loved Hajje Nazmiyeh. What a character!
This is the story of sisterhood and a schooling on how it should look. I am so glad they chose to send this book to me, it is definitely going down as an all time favourite. It is absolutely worth reading, you will not regret it! Susan Abulhawa has done a remarkable job at writing this phenomenal and breathtaking novel.
View 2 comments. Jul 09, RitaSkeeter rated it liked it Shelves: , contemporary. Although I have Mornings in Jenin on my kindle ready to read, it was this book - Abulhawa's second novel - that I read first. Abulhawa writes with a distinct style, and I'll be interested to see if this is also the case in Mornings or if it is peculiar to this novel.
This book opens with families leaving their ancient farms for Gaza as their homes are invaded. Those who are sensitive to reading about sexual assault should be aware there is a distressing rape scene, as well as other violence com Although I have Mornings in Jenin on my kindle ready to read, it was this book - Abulhawa's second novel - that I read first. Those who are sensitive to reading about sexual assault should be aware there is a distressing rape scene, as well as other violence committed.
This opening section of the book - say, the first 70 pages or so - I struggled with a little. Not necessarily due to content, though that was difficult to read as it is for any book including such events, but rather I felt the authorial tone was too didactic for my taste. I'm not sure why that bugged me so much, perhaps because I felt a little like I was being lectured to rather than being presented with a story that would engage me and lead me to think for myself.
I think many most? Where the book gained strength for me was in the contemporary sections set in Gaza. Abulhawa shows us the lives of people living in Gaza: the conditions they live under and the way they try to ensure they have their needs met the tunnels. In addition, there are glimpses into aid workers assisting in Gaza. Life in the world's largest open air prison is challenging; from air raids, to calorific restrictions, limited medical supplies, and a thousand other privations that comes with living in a war zone.
The didacticism I struggled with in the first section resolved in the contemporary sections - perhaps because we followed the lives of characters, rather than of a an event. This book is unabashedly pro-Palestine, but I have no issue with that. The voices of Palestine have been silenced, and this book tries to give a voice again; to show what is happening in Gaza. Aug 03, Calzean rated it it was amazing Shelves: author-palestine , culture-palestine , woman-author. The Western media and Governments paint Palestinians as the bad guys. But they are people and this book so movingly relates the lives of one Palestinian family from the time of establishing Israel to today.
The family came from simple farming and fishing stock and held centuries long customs and beliefs focused on God and the family. There is superstition and the evil eye to be avoided.
Forced to live in Gaza they hang on to their dignity and traditions waiting for the day they can live peaceful The Western media and Governments paint Palestinians as the bad guys. Forced to live in Gaza they hang on to their dignity and traditions waiting for the day they can live peacefully away from the violence and military power of Israel. One of their family migrates to America and a granddaughter. Nur becomes a powerful comparison between life in Gaza and the Western world which has walked away from family, belief and respect.
She is molested by her stepfather, despised by her mother and left to grow up in foster homes.
The only person who stays in contact with Nur through these years is a child welfare office, herself a refugee from South Africa. She finally finds love and people who want her in their lives when she goes back to Gaza. The prose shines. The words come out of the pages. Strong women abound. Just a wonderful and memorable book.
Jun 22, Gotherella BioVenom rated it it was amazing. This was amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time. To read about such horrific events that are not fictional. To read about a family going through so much negative events, but to stay together, to keep helping people and to just keep their heads up. It was so amazing. I cried like a baby several times, not going to lie :p This book is really an eye opener to the culture of these refugees and an insight into their lives. I love that every character in this has their own strength, and that they us This was amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time.
I love that every character in this has their own strength, and that they use it to build a life. To help other people and to just keep on going. Dec 22, Miss Banana rated it it was amazing Shelves: book-challenge , muse-monthly. I am woefully ignorant about this part of the world in any time period -- most of our history is made up of European and American conflict.
This book painted a beautiful and painful picture of family and tradition and history of one family stretched so thin and it was a wonder they didn't break. I have also not cried so much while reading a book in a very long time. Jun 20, Jenny rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. A brilliant read. I would give it 6 stars. Very powerful stories of a war torn Gaza. The book will stay with me for some time.
It has left me with many questions as to why the world stands by and watches and the U. Oct 01, Dem added it. Am going to put this aside for the moment and hope to come back to it at some stage as its just not holding my attention right now. To have another living person who just knows you. The Blue Between Sky and Water is as beautiful as its title!!
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Susan you surely made my tears shed by showing the way Palestinians are suffering in and f0r their own land. Jan 01, Deepika Ramesh rated it it was amazing. This book was painful, magical, and everything in-between. Jun 30, Jessica M rated it it was amazing. Have I mentioned how much I love reading historical fiction? A Palestinian family is violently pushed from their ancient farming village of Beit Daras and they try to reconstitute themselves in a refugee camp in Gaza. The men there, those who have escaped prison or the battlefields, worry over making ends meet, they tend their tattered pride, and they join the resistance.
The women are left to be breadwinners and protectors. Nazmiyeh is the matriarch and very much the main character in the novel. She is the center of a household of sisters, daughters, granddaughters, whose lives threaten to spin out of control with every personal crisis, military attack, or political landmine. The Blue Between Sky and Water is a fantastic, divine novel about survival, showcasing powerful women who manage to enlarge and enliven the everyday.
They are not wealthy or important, but they are struggling. They have tragedy in their lives and they are coping. But the women rise above all that to tackle their problems and their issues and they come together to live their lives and take things one step at a time. They are bold and confident and they stand up for themselves. They are the stars of this novel and they are inspiring to the reader. This is a timeless novel, with lyrical prose and insight into the historical woes and turmoil in Gaza. The novel jumps between generations and families and characters, but all of the sections come together to deliver a satisfying conclusion that resembles the importance of family and the importance of being there for one another.
I loved the characters in this novel, but I also loved the magic realism that the author wove into the story. We received short bits of it every so often and it was refreshing and uplifting and it helped propel the story forward. This book illustrated a culture that I know very little about, and it presented it in a sensitive and honest setting. A true setting, with events that have really happened in the world and are hard to imagine.
Sep 30, Ellie M rated it liked it Shelves: netgalley , didn-t-finish. Thanks to Netgalley for providing this review copy. This is the story of four generations of Palestinian women, who survive through some extraordinary circumstances. There are scenes of sexual violence and child abuse, which some readers may find difficult to read. What I liked about this book was that it described periods of history I was aware of but knew little details about. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ongoing, and innocent people are still suffering, and this was the story of those in Thanks to Netgalley for providing this review copy.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ongoing, and innocent people are still suffering, and this was the story of those innocents over a period of history. What I struggled with, and why I didn't finish the book, was the number of characters. I also wasn't very keen on the magical realism. It's not something I like normally, so for it to be in this novel We invite you to contact us But first tell us more about yourself How many channel partners do you currently engage with?
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