Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A River Dies of Thirst” as Want to Read:
A River Dies of Thirst
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A River Dies of Thirst

by
4.3  ·  Rating details ·  131 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
This remarkable collection of poems, meditations, fragments, and journal entries was Mahmoud Darwish’s last volume to come out in Arabic. This River is at once lyrical and philosophical, questioning and wise, full of irony, resistance, and play. Darwish’s musings on unrest and loss dwell on love and humanity; myth and dream are inseparable from truth. Throughout this perso ...more
ebook, 153 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Archipelago (first published 2009)
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 A River Dies of Thirst, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A River Dies of Thirst

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Eadweard
"The House As Casualty

In one minute the entire life of a house is ended. The house as casualty is also mass murder, even if it is empty of its inhabitants. A mass grave of raw materials intended to build a structure with meaning, or a poem with no importance in time of war. The house as casualty is the severance of things from their relationships and from the names of feelings, and from the need of tragedy to direct its eloquence at seeing into the life of the object. In every object there is a
...more
Marina Sofia
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More of a diary and notebook rather than finished poems, written in the heat of the moment, the summer of 2006, when Israel attacked Gaza and Lebanon. Darwish proves that a poet cannot be a-political, however much he may want to, and it is filled with beautiful thoughts and quotes. One to savour and read over and over, especially in times of conflict.

A great poet is one who makes me small when I write, and great when I read.

For why do we need poetry if the poet says the sky is clear and the gard
...more
Huda AbuKhoti
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only thing I was worried about while reading this is that the translation wouldn't be a good one, but it was. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Darwish's language is simple and to the point, which made this work tremendously enjoyable even if it is translated it still transcends the essence of the author's writing to a great extent.
Antonio Delgado
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Words are not meaningless but their meanings are an approximation for Darwish, one of the greatest poets of the last century, to explore and understand without fully apprehending the experience of always living elsewhere. Pain, humor, wine, good friends, war, bullets are simply motifs that Darwish explores as common places for the Palestinian condition, which is after all the human condition.
Nour
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly incredible. A must read 'From now on you are somebody else' and 'From now on you are you' moved me.
Jim
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I’d never knowingly read anything by a Palestinian writer. I’d just read an Amos Oz, wanted to balance the books and this was the first thing I came across that I thought I might actually be able to get through.

The blurb says, “During the tumultuous summer of 2006, as Israel attacked Gaza and Lebanon, Darwish was in Ramallah. He recorded his observations and feelings in writing included in A River Dies of Thirst, some of his last work.” Now I’ll be honest I don’t have m
...more
Charlene Smith
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mahmoud Darwish writes passionately, poetically and inspirationally of life as a Palestinian. It is a combination of poetry and prose. I ordered this book and began reading it ahead of a Palestinian friend and writing student speaking to my church as part of a Peace Conversation series I’ve begun. The concept is to try and encourage people to speak ‘to their enemy’ - I spoke on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the first investigations into death squads, my Palestinian frien ...more
Paula
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Graceful poems, heart touching words contouring images of a world of great distress where hope has no place.

Two strangers

"He looks upwards
and sees a star
looking at him

He looks into the valley
and sees his grave
looking at him

He looks at a woman
who torments and delights him
and she does not look at him

He looks in the mirror
and sees a stranger like him
looking at him"
Darryl
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) was a prominent Palestinian poet, activist, and editor who won several literary awards and international peace prizes. This collection of standard and prose poems, fragments and journal entries was written just prior to his death, and was published in English by Archipelago Books last year. The pieces in this collection are deeply personal, reflecting on his youth and the wisdom that comes with age, and include grim and sorrowful poems about the Palestinian struggle a ...more
metaphor
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When he thought about hope he felt weary and bored, and constructed a mirage and said: 'How shall I evaluate my mirage?' He searched in his desk drawers for the person he was before asking this question, but found no notes containing thoughtless or destructive urges. Nor did he find a document confirming he had stood in the rain for no reason. When he thought about hope, the gap widened between a body that was no longer agile and a heart that had acquired wisdom. He did not repeat the question ' ...more
Pamela Scott
I enjoyed the poems in A River Dies of Thirst. The poem use rich language and powerful imagery which make them pleasant to read. A lot of the poems are structured more like little pieces of prose. As far as I’m concerned, a poem should contain stanzas. A block of continuous prose up to a page long is short piece of fiction and not a poem even when they use the same language and imagery. Only a few poems in A River Dies of Thirst are actual poems. A River Dies of Thirst is really a collection of ...more
Dhiyanah
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second Darwish. There is simplicity in a lot of this, from all the prose frolicking around the poetry. I felt like there were some hit-and-miss structures floating around, which I think could be expected in most translated works (I can't imagine the tricks needed to pull off a poetic translation so kudos to the translator!).

The poems that caught me held me firmly in their moments; meandering on scenes or travelling through thoughts. Darwish's insistence on trying to catch the essence of poetr
...more
Michael
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I envy horses: if they break a leg and feel humiliated because they can no longer charge back and forth in the wind, they are cure by a mercy bullet. So if something in me gets broken, physically or spiritually, I would do well to look for a proficient killer, even if he is one of my enemies. I will pay him a fee and the price of the bullet, kiss his hand and his revolver, and if I am able to write, extol him in a poem of rare beauty, for which he can choose the metre and rhyme.
Yasmeen
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always, Mahmoud Darwsih left me with some passages that were beautiful and powerful. However, I didn't make the same type of personal connection that I did to In the Presence of Absence, but nor was I as impressed as after having read Unfortunately It Was Paradise or If I Were Another, which is why this is getting four stars instead of five. Nevertheless, there were still times when his amazing writing shone through and compensated for the less interesting parts.
Ahmed
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mahmoud Darweesh had established for Palistinians a country of words by having created an embodied expression since he had worndered "does someone say , who will be master of words , will be master of the place? " , I am sure this question is more than a question like such great poet he is more than poet
cristiana
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
was lucky enough to simultaneously read this, along w/ the new poetry and cultural studies reader (edied by maria damon and ira livingston).

more to be written on boston review's intern blog, but easily the best book i've read this year...mesmerizing, whimsical, and deliberative.
Imen Benyoub
Two strangers

He looks upwards
and sees a star
looking at him

He looks into the valley
and sees his grave
looking at him

He looks at a woman
who torments and delights him
and she does not look at him

He looks in the mirror
and sees a stranger like him
looking at him.
Sarah
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very beautiful and moving. I felt I would have got more from it if I knew more of the history and politics.
Olivia
Sep 05, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tls
[from the 7 May 2010 issue]
Soo Na
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"From now on, you are you."
Somayah Almalki
rated it it was amazing
Feb 12, 2016
Erkam Evlice
rated it really liked it
Jun 18, 2017
Claire Polders
rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2015
Alaa'
rated it it was amazing
Feb 24, 2013
Lalit Shukla
rated it really liked it
Sep 08, 2015
Maxine Anwaar
rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2014
Triin
rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2017
Jane Floor
rated it it was amazing
Jun 10, 2012
Chris Köver
rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2013
Josianne Létourneau
rated it it was amazing
May 10, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dreams and Stones
  • A Brief History of Time
  • Victims of a Map: A Bilingual Anthology of Arabic Poetry
  • Wheel with a Single Spoke: and other poems
  • Fernando Pessoa and Co.: Selected Poems
  • The Novices of Sais
  • Diary of Andres Fava
  • The Earth in the Attic
  • On Entering the Sea: The Erotic and Other Poetry of Nizar Qabbani
  • Karaoke Culture
  • Without End: New and Selected Poems
  • Bacacay
  • Come, Thief
  • Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (Modern Critical Interpretations)
  • The Campaign
  • Strange Times, My Dear: The Pen Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature
  • Three By Perec
  • Selected Poems
75055
Mahmoud Darwish was a respected Palestinian poet and author who won numerous awards for his literary output and was regarded as the Palestinian national poet. In his work, Palestine became a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile.

The Lotus Prize (1969; from the Union of Afro-Asian Writers)
Lenin Peace Prize (1983; from the USSR)
The Knight o
...more
More about Mahmoud Darwish...

Share This Book

“The days have taught you not to trust happiness because it hurts when it deceives.” 28 likes
“I leave the other side of my life where it wants to stay, and follow the
remainder of my life in search of the other side of it.”
5 likes
More quotes…