Mornings in Jenin is a multigenerational story about a Palestinian family.
Forcibly removed from the olive-farming village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejos are displaced to live in canvas tents in the Jenin refugee camp. We follow the Abulhejo family as they live through a half century of violent history. Amid the loss and fear, hatred and pain, as their tents are replaced by more forebodingly permanent cinderblock huts, there is always the waiting, waiting to return to a lost home.
The novel's voice is that of Amal, the granddaughter of the old village patriarch, a bright, sensitive girl who makes it out of the camps only to return years later, to marry and bear a child. Through her eyes, with her evolving vision, we get the story of her brothers, one who is kidnapped to be raised Jewish, one who will end with bombs strapped to his middle. But of the many interwoven stories stretching backward and forward in time, none is more important than Amal's own. Her story is one of love and loss, of childhood and marriage and parenthood, and finally of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.
Set against one of the 20th century's most intractable political conflicts, Mornings in Jenin is a deeply human novel - a novel of history, identity, friendship, love, terrorism, surrender, courage, and hope. Its power forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining conflicts of our lifetimes.
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Important, heart-breaking story
Yes! Woodward's voice was not annoying, and I enjoyed her reading. This is the kind of book where you miss a few things the first time, so I would actually listen to it again to take note of the things I missed.
The relationships were so fantastically captured. I could identify with them even when I didn't have much in common with some characters.
I liked her accenting of the different POVs. I also presume that her pronunciation of Arabic terms is correct (it sounds correct); whereas if I read it I might have just skimmed over the Arabic terms. I also like that Woodward becomes passionate when Amaal is passionate. This is not an apathetic book, and so the narrator must not be apathetic either.
It made me laugh a few times, because some of the characters say funny things. And it made me smile warmly at some of the family/friend relationships. But mostly it made me cry many many times; not only because the tragedies were so great, but because I know they are based on reality.
I thought I knew a fare bit about the Israel-Palestine conflict, and that I was quite open-minded, but this book taught me so much more. I am glad I listened to it. It was heart-breaking, but I don't regret it. I only regret that humans do such horrid things to one another.
I wish the narrator could pronounce better...