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In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  585 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
An intimate and powerful narrative in which the Israel-Palestine conflict is presented, unusually, from the Palestinian side, In Search of Fatima reflects the author’s personal experiences of displacement, loss and nostalgia against a backdrop of the major political events which have shaped Middle East conflict.

In Search of Fatima is a powerful biographical story, but it i
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Hardcover, 456 pages
Published December 17th 2002 by Verso (first published 2002)
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Nandakishore Varma
May 15, 1948. The world (at large) knows of it as the Israeli Independence Day. But the Palestinians call it by another name: Yawm-an Nakba ("Day of Catastrophe") - for what name is more fitting for a day when daylight robbery was legitimised?

It is true that history is always written by the victors. So the "heroes" always win, and the "villains" always get defeated. This is the story we hear. But what about the narrative of the defeated? Who are the heroes and villains in that tale?

The formation
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Petra X
""Hitler should have finished the job," quote from the author in the book.

This is an anti-Semitic diatribe where the words "Jews" and "Israelis" are used interchangeably and hatred directed at both equally.

Further discussion of this book is pointless since quite obviously there is going to be no balance of any kind.

One thing I always wonder is this. When the land was partitioned by the British who had a Mandate to rule it (before that it was Turkish, and we are going back centuries), 70% of it w
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Walaa Alshehri
الكتاب عبارة عن عن سيرة ذاتية لحياة الكاتبة في قالب روائي. استمتعت بوصفها لتفاصيل حياتها مع عائلتها وأعجبتني طريقة كتابتها. تمكنت بشكل ناجح من وصف مشاعرها في كل فترة من فترات حياتها وكأنها تعايشها في اللحظة التي تكتب فيها تلك الكلمات التي تمكنت من خلالها من إيصال تلك المشاعر للقارئ. في الجزء الأول من الكتاب تصف الكاتبة حياتها في مدينة القدس ما قبل النكبة والهجرة. ثم تذكر بشكل تاريخي بعض الشيء كيف حدثت الهجرة وانتقالهم للعيش في بريطانيا والأحداث والمشاعر التي عايشوها. في الجزء الثاني من الكتاب وص ...more
UmAzzan Al Riyamia
Sep 04, 2009 UmAzzan Al Riyamia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read
Ghada tells us her story from her childhood in Palestine, to her adolescences life in UK and then her university life. She takes us through her experience of losing a home, fighting to “fit-in” and then trying to find her rooots back. The story is amazing and it forces you to flip the page to know what would happen next. Definitely a must-read book if you want to know the story of Palestinian in this Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Being an Arab, we grow up feeling for Palestinians. We taught by th
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Foxglove
Mar 10, 2014 Foxglove rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A racist, bigoted author who is filled with utter hatred for Jews. When bullied by a Jewish girl, her response is "Hitler should have finished the job," but of COURSE, she's not Anti-semitic. When her mother meets Arab Jews, she yells at them for throwing her out of her home, even if they had nothing to do with it, but no, they don't hate Jews, of course not. Sick horrible book, a hateful diatribe of being a refugee with citizenship and a passport and seeing all Israelis are evil Jews. The book' ...more
Holly S. Warah
Jun 10, 2011 Holly S. Warah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is one of my favorite memoirs. Ghada Karmi’s story begins in Jerusalem where her Palestinian family is driven from their home in 1948. Karmi and her family end up living in exile in London, where the family longs for home and each family member copes in a different way.

Karmi writes about her lifelong quest for cultural identity, first as an Arab schoolgirl in London trying to assimilate, later as the wife of an Englishman, and finally as a Arab-English woman who returns to the Arab World as
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Pamela
Dec 28, 2009 Pamela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have offered this book to many friends so they could read about the Palestinian point of view. They return the book unread often saying it was "too depressing'. Really? Maybe that was the point, that losing one's way of life is beyond unsettling. If by posting this one person reads this exceptional story and develops feelings for the Palestinians, that would make me happy.
Debbie Blane
May 17, 2010 Debbie Blane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-written book. While from a personal perspective it is also an excellent historical overview from the Palestinian point of view of the creation of the State of Israel. The author begins her story before the "nakba", terrible happening, when British forces in Palestine deserted the Palestinian people to the onslaught brought by the Jews. It ends just before the year 2000. For me, living currently on the African continent in an Arabic culture, it was helpful to reinforce some of thin ...more
Wendy
This book deserves 4-1/2 stars. It is probably one of the best memoirs I have read. The author does a really beautiful job describing the sense of dislocation, both geographic and emotional, that she and her family experienced when they left their home in Jerusalem in 1948. Each member of her famiy dealt with this wrenching loss in their own way and because the author was the youngest, and only a small child when they left Jerusalem, I think she experienced a great deal of confusion and no one s ...more
Susan Abulhawa
Feb 06, 2014 Susan Abulhawa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very poignant memoir from a woman who lived through the Naqba and remembers Palestine before she was stolen.
Elliot Ratzman
Dec 22, 2014 Elliot Ratzman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elliot by: JVP Book Club
A fascinating look at an immigrant Arab family in the UK in the 50s. Karmi, a physician turned activist, helped start one of the first pro-Palestinian groups in the UK in the early 70s. Her evocation—presumably based on interviews since she was so young—of the last days of Palestine before partition are excellent. Her description of her family’s difficult transition to England is the real strength of the memoir. Her best friends were Jewish, until the Suez Crisis when Karmi is saddled with suppo ...more
Mona
Aug 29, 2013 Mona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites


I'm not yet done with the book, and not even half way through. However, the furiousness and anger I feel about it is immense. I live in the middle-east and I thought I knew all about it, but hearing from someone who had to go through it all is just..different. This is not a normal memoir of someone's life. It's a documentation of the displacement of a whole people and taking over their land by force and terrorism. I can't wait to finish the book and I recommend you read it.
Mary
Nov 21, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bayan
May 28, 2013 Bayan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will not be doing the book justice because I have lots of ideas and emotions inside with little ability to translate them to words. The book wasn't a smooth read for me and I didn't want to finish with it. This happens whenever I read a book about the Palestinian cause- including my people's misplacement, exodus,sufferings, and uncertainties. Maybe because I know there will be no happy ending (so far) and that the book will end with the author's hopes of change and justice. In Search of Fatima ...more
Sarah Lameche
Apr 21, 2015 Sarah Lameche rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
It is 2.20am. My eyes are stinging, its cold, i'm tired and my toddler will be waking me early. I wanted to go to bed hours ago. But this book wouldn't let me.I rarely give a book 5 stars but this one deserves it.
Since I was young I often dreamed of leaving the UK to live abroad somewhere exotic. These past few years I really didn't know what was keeping me here. Yet after reading this book I finally appreciate what I have. We may have no jobs, rubbish weather and Chavs in every town. Yet what w
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Aya
Mar 26, 2011 Aya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although Ghada moved in 1949 to England living as a British girl, she became later loyal to the Palestinian cause. This book illustrates what the Palestinians who were expelled from their country in 1948 had to go through. Their whole life was affected. They had to look for another 'home' as they did not have access to go back to their home and country. All the contradictory facts and feelings which Ghada had to experience as a Palestinian and a British at the same time who suffered because of a ...more
Jennifer Abdo
This is an excellent memoir and explores the refugees' feelings of where exactly they feel they belong. There is also a lot of good info on the Nakba as she and the people around her experienced it. I recommend it for understanding the conflict, especially since it is a Palestinian voice (a voice rarely heard in the US).
StrangeBedfellows
This is a thick book that reads fairly slow. If you can get through it, though, the refugee's perspective of the Palestine/Israel conflict is worth the occasional yawn. This certainly wasn't the history of Israel I read about in high school and junior college.
McKenzie
Ghada Karmi is an authentic voice that gives the reader an examined and intimate look at Arabian, English, Palestinian/Israeli relations from the point of view of a displaced Palestinian. ISoF provides the context for more closely looking at a current incidence of colonization, and broadens one’s perceptions of Palestinians that are better and more humanely portrayed than our current misperceptions of them as, “Arab refuges, extremists or Islamic terrorists.” p. xv.

Ghada Karmi views the overtak
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Serene

This book is the account of the life of Ghada Karmi, who was exiled at the age of 9 from her homeland, Palestine, after the creation of the state of Israel. It is told in a very simple, straightforward manner -- Karmi is no magician with words -- but I did find it interesting. As an Arab who is always wondering how we got ourselves in the mess that we are today, I found her descriptions of Palestinian society just before 1948 to be a real eye-opener ... they seemed to pretty passive in front of
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Christine
Oct 23, 2014 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was almost like a reprieve after reading the rather taxing fluid-time books Seasons and Secret Life. Being an autobiography, the time had to be far more linear and stricter making it an easier reading journey. A moving and resonate autobiography, definitely one of the best I've ever read. Since it was an autobiography, it could afford to spend time providing background and history therefore filling me in on the little details I (as well as other Western readers, or even Arab youth) mig ...more
Sierra
Sep 09, 2013 Sierra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So what on earth was I thinking when I left this book for more than 5 months without reading it.This is by far on of the most excited memoir I've ever read so far.I don't know why I felt that Dr.Ghada was truly speaking from her heart.So charming and pure.

What came across my mind while I was reading that we, the Arabs, tend to ignore what happens to us until things get worse and worse.Let me just say it straight until we find a leader that can do the boldest thing ever. Yes I'm talking about Nas
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Fatima Azhar
May 26, 2015 Fatima Azhar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Breaks your heart.
It does.
And leaves you yearning for something which you haven't even lost.
You actually feel the loss.
And it makes you understand the dynamics of the Palestine issue.
Martha
Jan 16, 2014 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We have often read about the Jewish side of establishing a home in the Middle East but seldom about the fate of the Palestinians who were forced to leave their country for this to happen. Ghana Karmi tells the story of her family who had to leave Jerusalem and eventually live in England. It is a memoir of Karmi seeking an identity, trying to balance a life between two worlds and all the sadness and confusion that entails.
Ghada Arafat
Jan 15, 2012 Ghada Arafat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the human face of the pakestinian question. it is a great book full of emotions and sooooo deep
Restu Adistya
This is very touching story. I BELIEVE, each and every kids were born in this world deserve to be loved and to love.
Maxine McDonald
Feb 20, 2015 Maxine McDonald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A long but interesting read. Gave me yet another perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian history.
Marieke
Feb 22, 2015 Marieke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
i read this several years ago...I will need to reread it in order to write a meaningful review.
Suzanne Setrallah
May 19, 2016 Suzanne Setrallah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* a must read to every Palestinian
a memoir from the life of Ghada Karmi born in Jerusalem by a Syrian mother & Palestinian father. They had to fled after the 1948 Palestinian exodus to the UK. By then she was 9 years old. Throughout the memoir, by which she speaks of millions, she tries to search for herself, her identity, torn between the English society & the arab one unable to belong to either of them. She marries her English boyfriend, a marriage ending in failure because of her dis
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Elisa
May 15, 2014 Elisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bios-and-memoirs
Ghada Karmi oli vasta lapsi palestiinalaisten nakbah’n aikaan, muttei kuitenkaan liian pieni muistaakseen. (al-)Karmin kolmilapsinen perhe (kirjailija on kuopus) joutui jättämään kotinsa Jerusalemissa ja pakenemaan ensin Syyriaan, sitten Lontooseen. Tästä muistelmateoksesta saa näin ollen hyvän käsityksen miehityksen etenemisestä myös brittinäkökulmasta.

Toisin kuin muu perheensä, kirjoittaja identifioituu varhain hyvin vahvasti englantilaisuuteen ja vasta aikuisella iällä ajautuu kohdakkain juu
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Middle East/North...: In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story (Jan-Feb 2012) 38 40 May 25, 2012 07:17AM  
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Dr Ghada Karmi was born in Palestine and then had to flee with her family when it became Israel. She grew up in Britain and now she's a doctor, author, academic, and well-know international commentator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ghada still vividly remembers a huge bombing just behind her house in Jerusalem. "It was absolutely dreadful. I was bewildered, I was scared - I could see my par
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“...We never set eyes on Fatima or our dog or the city we had known ever again. Like a body prematurely buried, unmourned withpot coffin or ceremony, our hasty untidy exit from Jerusalem was no way to have said goodbye to our home, our country and all that we knew and loved.” 13 likes
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