Yahya Yakhlif : بحيرة وراء الريح، (A Lake Beyond the Wind)

The latest addition to my website is Yahya Yakhlif‘s رة وراء الريح، (A Lake Beyond the Wind). The novel is set in Samakh in 1948. Samakh had been an important stop on the Jezreel Valley railway and Hejaz railway but after the events of this novel became depopulated. As we know from the link, the village will be defeated by the Jews and become depopulated. We follow the story of the events in 1948 when the Jews took over Palestine, both from the local level but also the broader picture. Yakhlif gives multiple points of view. In Samakh the people are not at all ready for what is going to happen, even though it is clear that fighting and attacks have taken place and will intensify. Many of them go on with their normal lives. However we also see events elsewhere. A local fisherman joins the Arab Liberation Army as do two young men, one from Syria and one from Iraq and we follow events from their point of view. It does not go well for them. The Jews are better organised, better armed (with help from the British) and better prepared. The Arabs, with a mishmash of men from all over the Arab world, completely untrained and with inadequate armaments and organisation, do not have a chance. Yakhlif tells the story very well, as we see the creation of Israel and collapse of Palestine from the Palestinian point of view.

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