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In Going Home, Raja Shehadeh, the Orwell Prize–winning author of Palestinian Walks, takes us on a series of journeys around his hometown of Ramallah. Set in a single day—the day that happens to be the fiftieth anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza—the book is a powerful and moving record and chronicle of the changing face of his city.
Here is a city whose green spaces—gardens and hills crowned with olive trees—have been replaced by tower blocks and concrete lots; where the Israeli occupation has further entrenched itself in every aspect of movement, from the roads that can and cannot be used to the bureaucratic barriers that prevent people leaving the West Bank. Here also is a city that is culturally shifting, where Islam is taking a more prominent role in people’s everyday and political lives and in the geography of the city.
A penetrating evocation of memory, pain, and place that is lightened by everyday joys such as delightful accounts of shared meals and gardening, Going Home is perhaps Raja Shehadeh’s most moving and painfully visceral addition to his series of personal histories of the occupation, confirming Rachel Kushner’s judgment that “Shehadeh is a buoy in a sea of bleakness.”
Considered Palestine’s leading writer, Raja Shehadeh is a writer, lawyer, and the founder of the pioneering Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq. He is the author of several books including the 2008 Orwell Prize–winning Palestinian Walks as well as Where the Line Is Drawn and Going Home (both from The New Press). He has written for the New York Times, the New Yorker, Granta, and other publications. He lives in Ramallah, Palestine.
Adam Shatz is a contributing editor at The London Review of Books and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and other publications. He has been a visiting professor at Bard College and New York University and a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars. Raised in Massachusetts, he studied history at Columbia University and has lived in New York City since 1990.