Isabella Hammad: The Parisian

The latest addition to my website is Isabella Hammad‘s The Parisian. Midhat Kamal lost his mother when he was two. When his father remarries, Midhat is sent off to a French school in Constantinople and then to study medicine in Montpellier. Things do not go well there, partially because he falls in love with his landlord’s daughter, and he moves to Paris, nominally to study history. though he befriends many of those involved in the fight for Arab independence after World War I. He becomes a dapper Parisian but has to return home when his money runs out. To his annoyance his father expects him to work in the family clothing business and marry a local woman. When his father dies and leaves him with little money he has to make his own way. Meanwhile we are seeing life under the British mandate and the mass immigration of the Jews. The Palestinians are slow to react but eventually the 1936–1939 Arab revolt breaks out but a traumatic event leaves Midhat sidelined though we see others fighting for Palestine. Hammad tells an excellent story with a rich cast of characters and, while we do see events in Palestine, she has many other stories to tell us.

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