What if all the Palestinians in Israel simply disappeared one day? What would happen next? How would Israelis react? These unsettling questions are posed in Azem’s powerfully imaginative novel. Set in contemporary Tel Aviv forty eight hours after Israelis discover all their Palestinian neighbors have vanished, the story unfolds through alternating narrators, Alaa, a young Palestinian man who converses with his dead grandmother in the journal he left behind when he disappeared, and his Jewish neighbor, Ariel, a journalist struggling to understand the traumatic event. Through these perspectives, the novel stages a confrontation between two memories. Ariel is a liberal Zionist who is critical of the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, but nevertheless believes in Israel’s project and its national myth. Alaa is haunted by his grandmother’s memories of being displaced from Jaffa and becoming a refugee in her homeland. Ariel’s search for clues to the secret of the collective disappearance and his reaction to it intimately reveal the fissures at the heart of the Palestinian question.
Ibtisam Azem is a Palestinian short story writer, novelist, and journalist, based in New York. She is a senior correspondent for the Arabic daily al-Araby al-Jadeed. She has published two novels in Arabic. Some of her writings have been translated and published in French, German and English in several anthologies and journals. She is working on her third novel and pursuing an MA in Social Work from NYU’s Silver school.
Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist, translator, and scholar. He is associate professor at New York University's Gallatin School. His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s In the Presence of Absence won the 2012 National Translation Award.
Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer in New York. She is the author of two books, Drawing Blood and Brothers of the Gun, (with Marwan Hisham). She has been the recipient of a Yale Poynter Fellowship, a Front Page Award, was shortlisted for a Frontline Print Journalism Award and longslisted for a National Book Award. She is often asked to discuss her work chronicling the conflicts of the 21st Century, and has appeared on All In with Chris Hayes, Amanpour, NPR, BBC News, and more. Her art is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the United States Library of Congress and the New York Historical Society. She is currently the Spring 2019 artist in residence at NYU's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies.