This was an easy read, with an interesting and relevent story line - child abduction, terrorism, and how best intentions, beliefs and actions can conf...moreThis was an easy read, with an interesting and relevent story line - child abduction, terrorism, and how best intentions, beliefs and actions can conflict. However, I felt like the ending left me dangling wishing for a bit more substance.... It was like there should be a lesson here. But what is it? (less)
In this wonderful, humorous, and powerful story - Nidali is a strong teen caught between self discovery, and the constraints of war within a culture w...more
In this wonderful, humorous, and powerful story - Nidali is a strong teen caught between self discovery, and the constraints of war within a culture where women are subjected to very confining roles. The story opens with her “Baba” hoping for a the birth of a boy, due to his awareness of the difficulties facing women in Kuwait. In doing so he accidently names her Nidal. When realizing she is a girl, he adds an i creating Nidali, the narrator’s name.
Born in America from an Egyptian and Greek mother and a Palestinian father Nidale’s roots are as complex and ethnically diverse as the middle east itself. When the family moves back to Kuwait in the volatile 80’s from American, they will eventually be forced to leave again. Eventually they will immigrate back to America, confusing and complicating the question of where exactly is home?
Here is a quote which sums the title up of A Map of Home. After leaving Kuwait, Nidali has drawn a map of Palestine while sitting at the family table while talking with her father:
“You still remember that?” I nodded and looked at the map nervously, hesitant about whether I’d drawn it right. I pointed at the western border and asked, “Is that right?” “Who knows,” he said, waving his hand dismissively …
“What do you mean, Baba when you say ‘who knows’?”
“Oh habibti. That map is from a certain year. The maps that came earlier looked different. And the ones that come after, ever more different.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean… there’s no telling. There’s no telling where home starts and where it ends.”
Hilarious and thought provoking A Map of Home is a down to earth insight into the complexities of middle eastern cultures. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a mostly lighthearted view on difficult and often misunderstood subjects – war and who are our middle Eastern neighbors. (less)
A sweet and mostly realistic tale, with touches of the magical. The story addresses connections to loved ones after death.
Mini Synopsis: This is a translated work which is a sweet and fantastic tale about a young boy whose family moves to Israel from New York to care for his aging and dying grandfather. Michael, his American name, is a loner of a child and prefers adult company to that of children. He is comfortable with this move since he does speak fluent Hebrew.
Upon arrival to Israel, he meets his grandfather and they become very close. Over their time together his grandfather shares his knowledge of his special gift, that Michael also possess. Only Michael doesn’t realize how special he really is.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this tale with its many interesting themes, such as addressing dreams, death, respect for the old, thinking about rebirth, reincarnation, sharing past lives, vegetarianism, morality and recognizing special gifts.
Several problems I had with the book is that it did not feel completely translated in a few small areas; there were bits which could be confusing for an American reader. I imagine that this was remedied since the copy that I read was an ARC – advanced read copy. Another is that one of the characters, Michael’s grandfather’s housekeeper/girlfriend, was portrayed as a difficult person. My problem was that although she cared for his grandfather, his grandfather’s home, did all the cooking, and after a move did these things for Michael's family as well, she was treated with disrespect by the entire family. Not a great role model for a child.
All in all, I adore translations and when looking beyond the annoyances mentioned above, I give this book 3.5 stars. I liked it a lot.(less)