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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 members say

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Painfully beautiful

To say I Loved this book does not touch the sides. Stunning prose unfolding a truly meaningful and touching insight into a world I was not aware existed. Great read!!

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    5 out of 5 stars

Really moving.

This was a really moving book. I learnt a lot and it has made me read more about Palestine.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love and heartache.

This is by far the most painful book I know of.
I’ve read it and listened to it and I keep coming back to it. It’s like I’m poking a bruise. It hurts but I can’t stop.

The story of Palestine is told in the most haunting way. The land which got lost in history. The book is about the Palestinians faith. About war. About life and death and love and sorrow. This is the most important piece of litterateur in my life.

I would recommend this to absolutely everyone. This story needs to be heard, spread, talked about. The war is still going on today and I and the rest of the western world have an obligation to at least hear the side of those whom may never speak.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Brillient and eye opening

One of the best books I have read but deeply sad. It will make you want to be a better person and change the world

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Simply stunning

What an extraordinary tale of life, love, death and loss. The author writes so beautifully and evocatively, and she brings such clarity to the magic and mystery of the Arabs and life in Palestine, that it has been pure joy to have a glimpse of a life previously unknown to me. Her account of this conflict and suffering is brought to a stunning conclusion leaving the reader aching for more. I think this is one of the finest creations I have ever read. Susan is clearly one of the finest writers of our generation. Jenifer is also to be commended for her brilliant narration. She brings such passion and depth to the story that she adds immensely to this incredible piece of work. Don't hesitate to listen!

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Wonderful

Wonderful read and very well read. Thoughtful,s sensitive,insightful. Would recommend anyone to read it soon.

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Have you heard both sides?

slow to start, this book turns into a beautiful, romantic, extremely sad story. It's often enlightening to hear the other side of an argument and that's what this book is.

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Brilliant read.

A powerful book that holds you all the way to the end. An emotional read.

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Truly powerful

This a sad and heart rendering book looking at Palestine through the eyes of a family. It humanises the reality for real people and the emotional turmoil such wars where most of the people are just trying to survive daily and live normally, love and have a family.

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Aliya
  • 23-09-18

Heartbreaking must-listen

I think this is one of those essential books that brings one’s humanity to the surface again. If everyone read this book and books like these, I think it would make it much more difficult to turn a blind eye towards the injustices occurring in the world.

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  • Leah
  • 14-05-18

If you are in the mood for a good cry...

This book is full of love and loss. Even though it is fiction, I find it incredibly important to read as a Palestinian narrative of the Israeli invasions. The passages from Khalil Gibran were a addition.

I loved the characters and the way the author described places and emotions. It seems that the narrator doesn't speak Arabic. Some words were pronounced with a strange accent or emphasis on the wrong syllables.

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  • GB
  • 21-11-17

Brilliant Journey in the the Soul of Suffering

Okay first off, I don't want to talk about the extraneous political flamers so often brought into books about Israel/ Palestine. I'm not going to make any statements about that, or indulge in fisking and nit picking.

This is a work of fiction and as such it is brilliant. The writer leads one into the emotional turmoil of a persons each of whose life is systematically shredded by circumstances beyond their control and which they had no part in creating. It leads us into the heart of darkness that is armed conflict and the cost the victims must bear.

It bring home the human cost of those caught in the fog of war. It is in fact the perfect antidote to the computer game indifference that modern media shows us. It could be any conflict anywhere. The story is relentless it hammers at the readers emotions and sense of equity but it never sinks into propaganda. There are no monsters, no caricatures and no personified evils in the book.

It is always the human price that the book centres on, Those who pay for the mighty's games are its story.

I recommend it as one of the best books of this sort I have read.

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  • Acheteur
  • 17-05-17

I wish the narrator could pronounce better...

I love this book and could read all over again. However, I would have preferred if the narrator could pronounce properly the few sentences in Arabic, which are very important in the story to show, for example, some feelings of the main character. The sound of an American prononciation was terrible for me.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rani
  • 01-03-17

Deeply touching.

This book made me cry several times. the author describes the deep emotions of the characters powerfully. i shudder to think about what it must have felt like for so many to lose their homes, be moved to a refugee camp and still remain unsafe and live with the fear of being killed in an environment of constant conflict

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  • Dragon Lady
  • 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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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • AB63
  • 21-06-16

Like poetry

I liked the book and found it to be an interesting way to learn a bit about the Middle East conflict (albeit through fictional character and storyline.). Unfamiliar with the typical Palestinian & Israeli names and simple phrases, at times I felt it took much concentration to remember who was speaking or spoken about.

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  • Regina
  • 09-08-16

The Germans killed the Jews so Palestine paid.

Any additional comments?

Powerful and Important. This was a compelling story of the cost to individuals and families for the decisions made by others. I saw comparisons to the Native American story as well. Heartbreaking, but a must read.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful