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Enter Ghost cover art

Enter Ghost

By: Isabella Hammad
Narrated by: Nadia Albina
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

After years away from her family's homeland, and healing from an affair with an established director, stage actress Sonia Nasir returns to Palestine to visit her older sister Haneen. Though the siblings grew up spending summers at their family home in Haifa, Sonia hasn't been back since the second intifada and the deaths of her grandparents. While Haneen stayed and made a life commuting to Tel Aviv to teach at the university, Sonia remained in London to focus on her burgeoning acting career and now dissolute marriage. On her return, she finds her relationship to Palestine is fragile, both bone-deep and new.

Once at Haneen's, Sonia meets the charismatic and candid Mariam, a local director, and finds herself roped into a production of Hamlet in the West Bank. Soon, Sonia is rehearsing Gertude's lines in classical Arabic and spending more time in Ramallah than in Haifa with a dedicated group of men who, in spite of competing egos and priorities, each want to bring Shakespeare to that side of the wall. As opening night draws closer it becomes clear just how many invasive and violent obstacles stand before a troupe of Palestinian actors. Amidst it all, the life Sonia once knew starts to give way to the daunting, exhilarating possibility of finding a new self in her ancestral home.

A stunning rendering of present-day Palestine, Enter Ghost is a story of diaspora, displacement, and the connection to be found in family and shared resistance. Timely, thoughtful, and passionate, Isabella Hammad's highly anticipated second novel is an exquisite feat, an unforgettable story of artistry under occupation.

©2023 Isabella Hammad (P)2023 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Beautifully written, poignant yet forceful, thoughtful and thought provoking, but above all challenging the reader to respond to the question facing the characters in the novel: how to live under occupation while preserving your dignity and humanity? Hammad answers this question through taking us into the hearts and minds of the characters in the novel and through that into the heart and mind of Palestine." (Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran)

"Enter Ghost is a masterful, deeply convincing portrait of the all-too-real consequences of political theater - in both senses. A moving and important novel that presses upon the urgent question of how we ought to live in the midst of the rubble (and ongoing chaos) of political crisis." (Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift)

"Outstanding. Next-level. Aesthetically, intellectually, emotionally and culturally satisfying. It is astonishing but true that Isabella Hammad is incapable of striking a false note. She immerses her heroine in volatile territory with the accuracy, compassion and coolness of a surgical knife sliding into a diseased body. The result is a stunning beauty - an eye-opening, uplifting novel that grants its vulnerable cast and their endeavors a rare and graceful dignity." (Leila Aboulela, author of Minaret)

What listeners say about Enter Ghost

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Excellent

This novel intertwines art and politics, love and loss with beauty and relevance. The narration navigated the forms, allusions, and different languages beautifully.

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An intelligent novel.

Isabella Hammad wrote an intelligent novel that challenges the reader to think about one of the most pressing issues of our time.

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Wonderful novel wonderfully read

I hadn't tried a new writer for a long time and liked the look of this book which featured in the new writers Granta list. I am so pleased I did: Enter Ghost is an insightful and compelling drama about an ad hoc presentation of Shakespeare's Hamlet in Palestine. What is so impressive is the deep understanding of the Arab Israeli conflict and the daily sufferings of both sides (mainly Palestinian) as well as the theatrical actor's profession. The reader reads the Arabic and Hebrew beautifully and is obviously a native speaker. Furthermore it's one of the best performed audio books in terms of chacterisation particularly the I character playing Gertrude, her sister and the director Miriam. Very slight gripes that the parts of the book which are written like a theatre play don't work well in audio book format plus I felt the male characters weren't as well developed and differentiated as the women.

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