Library Journal Review
"To be a Palestinian, either you forget your roots and deny your origins in order to advance in life, or you remain a bullet in the barrel of a rifle waiting to be fired." So says Majd, a Palestinian living in New York, working on the 99th floor of a sleek office building, and struggling to keep at bay memories of the 1982 massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon, which killed his pregnant mother and left him scarred and crippled. Now he has fallen in love with Hilda, a Lebanese Christian studying dance in the city, and he's edgily, anxiously, angrily aware that her people should be regarded as the enemy. Were they linked to the massacre? As Hilda prepares for a trip home, professing her devotion to Majd, we're about to find out. VERDICT Whether it's discussing love or war, this arresting meditation on loss is visceral and honest; short-listed for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2015. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Through sharp, unabashed prose, Elhassan lets reader into the lives of Majd and Hilda, two people whose families stood on opposite sides of a war and massacre in Sabra and Shatila Camp, Lebanon, on September 16, 1982. The war destroyed Majd's family and left him scarred and mangled both mentally and physically. Majd and Hilda found each other and fell in love in New York years later, but when Hilda feels compelled to visit her family in Beirut, doubts and fears build walls between the lovers. Can they come to terms with the past in time to save their relationship? Will Hilda ever return to Majd? Elhassan's writing reveals the complex, emotional journey Majd must face as he struggles with the horrors of his pregnant mother's violent murder, his own wounds, and a love that is both strong and destructive. Though he and his father escaped the "angry land" of his childhood, the butchery that destroyed his mother and countless other lives followed him to New York, written on his psyche. Anger, passion, and loss dominate the pages of this gripping, emotional novel as the protagonists face the bloody shadows of their pasts. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.