Monday, August 31, 2020

Review: The Inheritance

The Inheritance The Inheritance by Sahar Khalifeh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a book I've owned for years and finally pulled it out to read for my Middle East 2020 challenge and Women in Translation Month. The author is a Palestinian, born in Nablus in 1941. Her novels often feature women living in Palestine, and this is no different, but all the characters are surrounding the event of an inheritance. The inheritance alongside the first Gulf War leads siblings to return home from the places they were working (several of the women in the family had relocated to make money for the men in their family!) - Kuwait, Istanbul, Frankfurt - and are dealing with complicated situations and feelings that have to do with loss of home, confusion of identity, difficulty of movement, etc.

I will admit I had to really hunker down to get through the book. The text on the page is tiny and the transition is fairly clunky. I did get more into the story in the last half, when a second wife's adult sons kidnap her to bully her out of her rightful inheritance. Phew! I have another book by this author on my shelves, Wild Thorns, and I understand this is better known. I will likely read it before the end of the year.

"[Kamal] had dreamed of returning home at this time and this age, to devote himself to a new project, a new passion, something that would make up for the past and for life in a desolate land. In Germany he had felt that he was living a superficial, rootless life, but now, after discovering the state of his homeland, he felt like an orphan."

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