Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story” as Want to Read:
In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  465 ratings  ·  75 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
Hardcover, 456 pages
Published December 17th 2002 by Verso (first published 2002)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In Search of Fatima, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about In Search of Fatima

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,633)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
Holly S. Warah
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
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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

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.
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
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
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
Elliot Ratzman
Dec 22, 2014 Elliot Ratzman rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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).
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
Sarah Lameche
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

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
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
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.
Susan Abulhawa
A very poignant memoir from a woman who lived through the Naqba and remembers Palestine before she was stolen.
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
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
Reema Al-Medaires
“We never set eyes on Fatima or our dog or the city we had known ever again. Like a body prematurely buried, mourned without 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.”

Let's make something clear first. This wasn't an easy read. It took me quite some time to finish it not because it was too long, but it needed to be read in a way where concentration was a must. It was a very satisfactory book
Marwah Hassounah
Having Palestinian origins , I always had some affinity towards anything that would tell me more about Palestine. I fell upon this story biography in a bookstore and I'm glad I did.
Ghada starts with you from her first few years in Palestine as a little girl. She describes things so vividly and clearly,it's almost as if you were there!
She then explains how little by little Jewish armed groups caused terror in the citizens' hearts which lead the family to flee off to Syria for protection and Brita
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.
The real story of the dislocation of the Palestinian people at a personal level starting in 1948. This personal history matches a significant history of the Middle East that I had previously read so reading the personal account of the impact to the people (at this one) was a good addition. I understand the further description of the personal inability to 'adapt' to her dislocation to England and the need to return to her own land but did find this part less an interest than the historical descri ...more
This is a fascinating book that gives a human face to the Palestinian "side" of the Israel-Palestine conflict. So often we in the west are quick to assume that Palestine = suicidal terrorists = "bad". But there is so much more to the story than our news bites and "info-tainment" would have us believe.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interesting in middle-east conflict/history or personal accounts of displacement and shattered cultural identity. I think it can speak to people on a variety
Ralph Pasiorco
Powerful and poignant. A story that needed to be heard.
Aug 09, 2009 Katherine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in learning more about the Israel/Palestine conflict
I really enjoyed this book - it was great to finally hear a perspective from the Palestine side of the Israel/Palestine conflict. This conflict is so complex and reading Ghada's memoir shows how complex it is regarding one person's life, but she gave great insight on her growing up in Palestine and finding her identity within the British culture when she exiled to England.

The first part of the book is quite heavy with details but once you get into the England section it's quite the page-turner.
This is the memoir of Ghada Karmi, who spent 10 years growing up in Palestine until the Nakba exiled her and her family to London. The first half of the book took me a while to get through, but I finished the rest in a few hours. The author did a wonderful job painting her life and her experiences that shaped her. I enjoyed the detail she provided of her quest to establish an identity and home. The ending left me in tears with a sense of nostalgia and longing for a country that I will always con ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 87 88 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Middle East/North...: In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story (Jan-Feb 2012) 38 37 May 25, 2012 07:17AM  
Survival of the fittest 1 13 Jun 27, 2010 02:12AM  
  • Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life
  • Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape
  • Fast Times in Palestine: A Love Affair with a Homeless Homeland
  • Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege
  • The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide
  • Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries
  • The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood
  • Out of Place
  • My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness
  • The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
  • Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians
  • Gate of the Sun
  • City of Oranges: An Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa
  • Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs & Israelis 1956-78
  • The Yellow Wind
  • A Border Passage: From Cairo to America – A Woman's Journey
  • My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story
  • On the Hills of God
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
More about Ghada Karmi...
Married to Another Man: Israel's Dilemma in Palestine Return: A Palestinian Memoir Health And The Movement Of Labour After 1992: Proceedings Of A Joint Conference Held By North West Thames Regional Health Authority And The King's Fund Centre For Health Services Development, 15 September 1989 Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process Ethnic Health Handbook a Factfile

Share This Book

“...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.” 12 likes
More quotes…