Oranges from Jaffa - A true story about the end of the golden age of Palestine

Nadine Sayegh

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Oranges from Jaffa is a family history, a novel against oblivion. The book presents the coming of age story of Nicolas Sayegh, a Palestinian Tom-Sawyer-type, who, together with his friends, roams the sun-drenched neighborhood streets of Jaffa in 1947 – an ancient Arab city, the commercial capital of Palestine at the time, fragrant with the smell of orange blossoms. Nicolas is always up to childhood adventures and mischief, exploring his parents’ magical orange groves, parading through his neighborhood like a cowboy on a donkey’s back, or sneaking out with his best friend Suhail to the local Alhambra cinema. The story poetically portrays the daily life of a well-to-do Christian Palestinian family and the people of Jaffa as a whole, giving insights into the local Palestinian culture that was prevalent at the time. However, Nicolas’ carefree days and boyhood ended abruptly in the spring of 1948, when the women of the neighborhood, warily observing the geopolitical events unfolding, convince the reluctant men to evacuate into safety with the families, as Jaffa surrenders to its new Jewish rulers. The story is written by Nicolas’s daughter, Nadine.



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