Out of It
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Out of It

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  107 ratings  ·  31 reviews
This book addresses east-west understandings of Arab women as portrayed through translated media. The vast majority of media studies on Arab women are western-based. They study the effect of western stereotypes in western media depictions of Arab women. There is a vast scholarly literature tracing western stereotypes of Arab women from medieval times to the present. From 1...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 31st 2011 by Bloomsbury (first published December 1st 2011)
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A view of the Palestinian society. The poor, the rich, the homeless, the fighter, the bored guys, and the annoyed girls. The secular, the extremist, and the unideologist. And Above all GAZA.

It draws a portrait of the miserable life in Palestine; the siege, the Zionist attacks, the demolitions, and the detentions in prison. All are committed by the Apartheid "Israel".

Rashid, Sabri, Iman, their mother, their father are representatives of Palestine factions and colors.

I love it, thought dislike som...more
3 1/2 stars.

I'm finding this book very hard to rate - the content was 5 star, but unfortunately the editing let it down. When I frequently find that I am rereading paragraphs to extract their meaning, the flow of the narrative is lost and the book loses its punch. However, this is the author's first full length novel and I'd be interested to read another if she writes a second.

Rashid and Iman are twins, living in Gaza. Rashid copes with the pressures by smoking marijuana and getting stoned, his...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Twenty-six-year-old twins Rashid and Iman live with their mother and older brother Sabri in Gaza; the night the bombing starts, Rashid is blissfully stoned after receiving the welcome news that he's won a scholarship to study in England, and his sister Iman is at a meeting of the Women's Committee in a basement room at one of the newly-built universities. Trapped inside until the following day, she is frustrated by the other committee members refusing to hear her thoughts and opinions because sh...more
Maryssa Slattery
I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and I'm glad that I did.

This novel shows the Israel/Palestine conflict through the eyes of the twenty-something Palestinian protagonists, each with their own perspective of the world and the place where they live.

I will admit that I previously knew very little about what all was going on with those conflicts and this novel introduced me to aspects that get overlooked by the Western media and pieces of the history that I was unfamiliar with. As a resul...more
Sharifah Alshahab
While I am unable to comment on how realistic the portrayal of Gaza, Palestine, Gazans or the Palestinian struggle, having not been there myself, I have to say the way the book was written was fabulous. It kept me anticipating and speculating how the characters got where they were in the page I was reading and what will happen to them in the pages to come. The manner the author censored boycotted brands, official names of political parties or the conflict itself was truly sophisticated - enough...more
Full Stop

Review by Kehan DeSousa

It would defy me to talk about Palestine without being overtly political, and maybe that’s why Selma Dabbagh doesn’t even try to avoid politics in Out of It. Out of It is political in the sense that all novels can be conceived of as arising from and being shaped by their historical context, but it’s also, very literally, about politics. The primary characters spend their lives worrying about Palestine’s fragile material existence; th...more
hard as i tried, i just could not get in to it.
A first-reads giveaway win for me, Out of It was a perfectly fine book, but it was just missing something for me. I will readily admit I should know more about Palestine and Israel, but I really only have the most basic of understandings of it. I felt this book was expecting the reader to already know more, such as an understanding of the politics and resistance movements within Palestine in it's struggle for the land it was promised to keep. I also, just did not particularly relate to the chara...more
What a disappointment. The first third of this novel was excellent. Against the backdrop of the struggle to survive in Gaza under bombing and oppression from Israel, we meet various members of a Palestinian family. Rashid, disillusioned and desperate to leave, his sister Iman, struggling to find a role in the struggle and flirting with religious fundamentalism, his disabled older brother Sabri, a bitter former fighter who lost his family and also his legs in a car bomb and then his mother who ha...more
I was lucky enough to win a copy of Out of It through Goodreads. Dabbagh delivers a compelling story of a brother and sister who are trying to carve a life for themselves despite the chaos around them. Both characters are well developed. Rashid sees a bright future for himself when he is awarded a scholarship to London, but things don't go exactly as he had planned. Always feeling like a outsider in his own family, Rashid struggles with his family's past, present, and future. His sister, Iman, i...more
David Grieve
Twins Rashid and Iman along with bomb blast survivor older brother Sabri live in Gaza. Rashid gets a ticket out in the form of a university scholarship to London. Iman finds herself getting more involved in the resistance movement. Sabri is a housebound figure sourcing and distributing information.

You get a real feeling of sense of place. I cannot say whether it is an accurate portrayal of life in Gaza but it has a feeling of authenticity about it. The tension, confusion and complexity of the st...more
For Books' Sake
"Set in contemporary Palestine, London and the Gulf, Dabbagh’s novel provides a fresh and impressive insight into what it means to be Palestinian in the 21st century.

Focusing on twins Iman and Rashid, the novel escapes the traditional rhetoric of Palestine.

Iman in particular is strong-willed and feisty, willing to subvert expectations in Gaza by removing her headscarf in public and becoming increasingly political." (Excerpt from full review at For Books' Sake).
I stayed awake late to finish this excellent first novel - extremely political but avoiding sloganising and sermonising (after all, actions do speak louder than words). It has superb pace and a wonderful eye for description, both of place of of character; particularly striking are the complex and subtle portrayals of familial relations, against a backdrop of Israeli atrocities and Palestinian resistance in Gaza. I bought this on the strength of a very positive newspaper review and will certainly...more
The initial pages of the book were a bit puzzling as the narrative style is pretty complex. Slowly, as you read the book you will get used to 'b' being talked about before 'a'. It is an interesting read. I shall give it three stars as the end was pretty vague. Also if the author has included a character similar to Leila Khaled, the great Leila Khaled of the Palestinian revolution, then she hasn't developed it well making her weak at some points. This was a disappointment. The novel is about the...more
This book was received as a GoodReads First Reads Win

I was unable to finish the book. It lay on my bedside for months with me never in the mood to pick it up. It was an interesting subject matter but the story was lost in the childish love relationship of Rashid and Lisa. I also found it a far fetched notion that all these young people were so easily able to leave Gaza and head over to London. Sex and alcohol was no big deal, as a Muslim I find that offensive. Too many things bothered me about t...more
This was a very hard book to read, but then, the life of those described/written about is very hard! There is no room for lightness and very little air in this story. The family and individuals described come to life as do their struggles. There are no easy answers, barely any answers as members of this priviliged family try to come to terms with their lives in Gaza and in their attemps to leave Gaza. I really struggled to read this, not because of the writing which is excellent but because of t...more
Compelling story that races forward. At times tricky to keep track of characters and their mind sets but after a while this works out. Powerful and timely glimpse into the struggles and challenges of Gaza. If I could I would give it 3.5 stars...nearly a 4.. Highly recommend. I am looking forward to author's next book.
I loved this book. A real insight into modern Palestinians. The characters all felt very real, and the plot is compelling throughout building to a great climax at the end. Very atmospheric but it doesn't lay on the 'misery' too thick- after all, it centres around a middle class family who are aware of their advantage.
Moira McPartlin
I wanted to like this but couldn't because there was too much crammed into the story. There was about five or six different plot lines going on the result being none of them worked. The backdrop of terror torn Palestine would have been better explored if the author had taken one storyline and ran with it.
good story of a Palestinian family trying to figure out how to live in the apartheid and perpetual war of Palestine/israel , fundamentalists of all stripes, modern world and traditional relationships all at the same time. good mix of everyday and geopolitics.
its a good novel and since based in palestine and gaza which is a favourite country with me i must say i thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Its very factual and puts you in the picture of day to day life as seen through the eyes of young men and women in gaza.
A slice in the life of a Palestinian family in Gaza. Realistic although the pace of the novel is a bit slow at times. An interesting and educating historical fiction. The novel is a nice complement to readers of the middle east recent history.
I wanted to like this book more. The plot is good and I also quite enjoyed the range of characters, but something about them, at times, felt inauthentic--especially in dialogues that are meant to be didactic.
I've been trying hard to write a decent review but for some awkward reason I couldn't.
Read it. Please! Because it's a cliché-free novel about Gaza, the most clichéd city.
While it had some interesting parts to it, I honestly found this book quite a chore to read. The style of writing seemed to change mid-way through but I'm not sure it improved!
The story covers a period of time in the life of three members of the same Palestinian family living in Gaza; it explores the challenges of being part of such a society.
Again, I wish for that half star. Very good novel about what passes for normal in a family from Gaza.
I received this book free from Goodreads Firstread.
Ola H. Anan
I'll come back for a longer review about this novel
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Selma Dabbagh is a British Palestinian writer of fiction based in London. Her short stories have been included in a number of anthologies including those published by Granta and the British Council. She was English PEN’s nominee for International PEN’s David TK Wong Award 2005 and has won and been nominated for various international short story awards.
Her first novel Out of It (Bloomsbury, Decem...more
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“He could never go back to that place, it had been sealed off to him for ever, blown to the sky with explosives then flattened to the ground with bulldozers, built over with tarmac, lived on top of by other people.” 8 likes
“We can't just run away. It's our land. Our people. We have a duty.” 7 likes
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