First of all I would like to thank Zoe at Comma Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Book of Ramallah: A City in Short Fiction edited by Maya Abu Al-Hayat centres on (official blurb): “A coffee seller waits all day for one customer to ask him how he is, until eventually he just tells the city itself… A teenager is ordered off a bus at a checkpoint and told he must kiss a complete stranger if he wants the bus to be let through… A woman pilgrimages to the Cave of the Prophets, to pray for rain for her patch of land, knowing it will take more than water to save it… Unlike most other Palestinian cities, Ramallah is a relatively new town, a de facto capital of the West Bank allowed to thrive after the Oslo Peace Accords, but just as quickly hemmed in and suffocated by the Occupation as the Accords have failed. Perched along the top of a mountainous ridge, it plays host to many contradictions: traditional Palestinian architecture jostling against aspirational developments and cultural initiatives; a thriving nightlife in one district, with much more conservative, religious attitudes in the next. Most striking however – as these stories show – is the quiet dignity, resilience and humour of its people; citizens who take their lives into their hands every time they travel from one place to the next, who continue to live through countless sieges, and yet still find the time, and composure, to create.”
The Book of Ramallah is a collection of short stories based on or involving the city of Ramallah. In total there are 10 stories within this collection and each one is completely different from the next. As I’ve said before I’m not normally a lover of short stories/collections however, I absolutely enjoyed this one.
Throughout this collection each story catches the essence of not only Ramallah as a city but also its people, beautiful culture and language.
The translators have done such a brilliant job throughout the whole of this collection. I loved the experience of being able to step into another culture and atmosphere for a few short hours.
Throughout this collection each story had a perfect blend of the mysterious and mystical that added so much more to the reading experience. I loved that the stories within The Book of Ramallah had so many different aspects to them whether that was a story with an open ending, supernatural elements, etc.
From the minute I picked this collection up I did not put it down again until I had finished it. I thoroughly enjoyed The Book of Ramallah and I would highly recommend.
(Photo is my own please do not copy/take without permission first)