Samir El-Youssef : The Illusion of Return

The latest addition to my website is Samir El-Youssef‘s The Illusion of Return. Our unnamed narrator has been living in London for fifteen years. He was born in a refugee camp in Lebanon where he used to hang out with three friends, though they disagreed on various issues. In London he had been writing a dissertation, showing that Palestinians were better off in exile than as refugees in Beirut or Palestine but had been attacked for aiding the Zionist enemy. He receives a phone call from an old friend Ali, living in the US, who is passing through London and wants to meet. He recalls the last day the four friends met which ended badly. Two people disappeared and Ali and his family were arrested. We follow the events of that day and the back stories, including the narrator’s sister’s untimely death ten years previously. Three deaths, only one caused by Israelis give us a somewhat different perspective on the Palestinian story.

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