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Summary

Mornings in Jenin is a multigenerational story about a Palestinian family.

Forcibly removed from the olive-farming village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejos are displaced to live in canvas tents in the Jenin refugee camp. We follow the Abulhejo family as they live through a half century of violent history. Amid the loss and fear, hatred and pain, as their tents are replaced by more forebodingly permanent cinderblock huts, there is always the waiting, waiting to return to a lost home.

The novel's voice is that of Amal, the granddaughter of the old village patriarch, a bright, sensitive girl who makes it out of the camps only to return years later, to marry and bear a child. Through her eyes, with her evolving vision, we get the story of her brothers, one who is kidnapped to be raised Jewish, one who will end with bombs strapped to his middle. But of the many interwoven stories stretching backward and forward in time, none is more important than Amal's own. Her story is one of love and loss, of childhood and marriage and parenthood, and finally of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.

Set against one of the 20th century's most intractable political conflicts, Mornings in Jenin is a deeply human novel - a novel of history, identity, friendship, love, terrorism, surrender, courage, and hope. Its power forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining conflicts of our lifetimes.

©2010 Susan Abulhawa (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Mornings in Jenin

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The narration is hideous!!

Wonderful story, hideous narration. I returned this and bought the physical book. The book is excellent but I kept cringing the whole time I was listening to the audiobook. I tried to persevere but had to return this after a few chapters. Such a shame as it could be incredible with a good narrator.

6 people found this helpful

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narration let's it down so much

I nearly stopped listening in the first hour or so because of the narrator. She absolutely butchered every Arabic word in the book. The phrases made me cringe and cry out many times in disbelief at such horrible pronunciation. I'm not an Arabic speaker although Muslim so I do know when common islamic words are not said correctly. It would not have taken much work to learn how to say the names and titles she had to use over and over again. It really marred the book for me and I wish I could have read it in print instead but circumstances at the moment don't allow that. It showed to me that the narrator and Audible didn't care enough about this poignant story to give it a decent narration.
The book itself is both lovely and so difficult. I am quite aware of the Palestinian struggle and what those poor people endure, yet at times I had to pause to compose myself and not break down sobbing. The writing at times reminds of Khaled Hoessini which is a massive plus.

6 people found this helpful

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Ruined by narrator

Wonderful book. Extraordinary story. Spoiled by narrator’s awful jarring pronunciation of place names and Arabic words.

4 people found this helpful

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An incredible novel, spanning generations

The persistent change of perspective and tense was irritating at first, but the novel spans 3 generations of love, war, and everything in between. At times, it's harrowing in the wake of death, but it's lifted by moments of vivid tenderness that took my breath away.

2 people found this helpful

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a must read to enable understanding...

how are these narrators a selected? At least have the respect to pronounce the Arabic correctly. A great book otherwise... if you can overlook the very bad pronunciation of Arabic

2 people found this helpful

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The story is brilliant, the narrator is very bad

The narrator is suffering in pronouncing every name. How hard is to practice saying names.
You had one job and you ruin it

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Incredible, moving, view changing insight.

it has filled my thoughts for days.. thank you for writing these truths for the world to understand how Palestinians have been persecuted in the formation of Israel and ever since.
You get used to the narration so stick with it.. .

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful, powerful, moving, eye-opening

I couldn't stop listening. Great narrator, important story told beautifully. Poetic, brutal, educational, often delightful.

1 person found this helpful

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Moving

Tough to get into but a story one should read. Take time with it.

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Moving

Beautifully tragic and thought provoking. Agony at times. Wonderful description of the lost lands and hurt. Feels far too forgotten.

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Profile Image for Naila Sherman
  • Naila Sherman
  • 04-11-16

Excellent story

This is a beautifully written and compelling story. As someone who is familiar with the Arabic language, I found the narrator's pronunciation of names and places disappointing. It would have been better to have someone who had a better command of either Arabic or Hebrew.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mariechen
  • 20-05-16

Important, heart-breaking story

Would you listen to Mornings in Jenin again? Why?

Yes! Woodward's voice was not annoying, and I enjoyed her reading. This is the kind of book where you miss a few things the first time, so I would actually listen to it again to take note of the things I missed.

What did you like best about this story?

The relationships were so fantastically captured. I could identify with them even when I didn't have much in common with some characters.

What does Jennifer Woodward bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I liked her accenting of the different POVs. I also presume that her pronunciation of Arabic terms is correct (it sounds correct); whereas if I read it I might have just skimmed over the Arabic terms. I also like that Woodward becomes passionate when Amaal is passionate. This is not an apathetic book, and so the narrator must not be apathetic either.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me laugh a few times, because some of the characters say funny things. And it made me smile warmly at some of the family/friend relationships. But mostly it made me cry many many times; not only because the tragedies were so great, but because I know they are based on reality.

Any additional comments?

I thought I knew a fare bit about the Israel-Palestine conflict, and that I was quite open-minded, but this book taught me so much more. I am glad I listened to it. It was heart-breaking, but I don't regret it. I only regret that humans do such horrid things to one another.

3 people found this helpful

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  • dbmusic
  • 02-05-19

People need this hear this

I don’t know where to start, I just finished it and I wonder why it has not gained more popularity. The poetic and emotional story of Amal will forever resonate in my thoughts. It’s funny that whenever hearing this story you very often blur the lines of fiction and wonder if it’s real. As an American we don’t often hear this perspective and we often distance ourselves from this tragic history but the author gives voices to a people we wouldn’t normally care about. Get the audiobook, you won’t regret it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 15-01-17

you won't see Israel the same after this book

had a little trouble starting this book. the narrator puts LOTS of emotion in her reading. I got used to after first hour. all her male characters sound the same. but the story really makes you think. I did a bit of research after reading to check if her battles were real or not. It's pretty accurate. I really had no idea any of this stuff took place. our western culture portrays Israel as the good guys and innocent victims. and Palestinians as terrorists. it was very eye opening reading the story from a Palestinian point of view. every American should read this. well done.

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  • Faraz Khan
  • 01-02-21

Why this narrator?

This is an amazing story and I truly loved it, and it makes me sad that I have to review based on the narrator. It’s absurd that they would pick someone who can’t pronounce even bare minimum words that are key to the story. Even the words “Muslim” and “Islam” are mispronounced - the most basic research would have solved that. It sincerely made it challenging to get into the story at times strictly because of the narrator’s pronunciation. Many times it took me out of the story. Beyond that, her enunciation was also strange - way too sing songy but in a way that didn’t suit the phrases she was reading. Really disappointed they didn’t put more thought into selecting a narrator who could do this book justice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Natalie El-EId
  • 28-10-20

Just wow.

I have read thousands of books in my lifetime. This is perhaps the most exquisite. I feel changed. Highly, highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stacey D. Hedman
  • 09-07-19

the most amazing performance

I've never read or listened to a more poetic book, and it was read so beautifully in this version. Unforgettable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alicia R. Porsa
  • 08-06-21

Sad truth written poetically

Educational, sad, and maddening truth about the conflict in Palestine/Israel. Hard to listen to but necessary to understand what has happened and continues to happen today.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-02-21

Very absorbing

I enjoyed listening to the book, however it could’ve been much more enjoyable if an Arabic speaker was narrating. The pronunciation of certain Arabic phrases sounded heavy and forced.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-09-19

Palestinian view of the occupation of the WestBank

This is a multigenerational story of a Palestinian family from the West Bank dating to the foundation of Israel in 1948 with some interesting twists in the story. It is a useful fictional account of a family in the original Palestinian villages moving through displaced persons camps, massacres, civil war, intifadas, resettlement in America, and loss of family members to snipers and bulldozers. It is one-sided and biased from the outset which is understandable because it is fiction but tells a compelling story from the Palestinian point of view. It is a little too smarmy for me with too many passages from "The Prophet" read at daybreak overlooking ancient olive groves and kisses of children, but that's just me. It was useful to understand the Palestinian perspective.