The Image, the Icon, and the Covenant
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This award-winning novel is at once a recasting of the story of the Holy Family, an ode to Arab Jerusalem, and a call for liberation, not just of a nation but for the individual women and men who inhabit it. After abandoning his beloved Mariam when she becomes pregnant, and escaping her brothers' bullets, Ibrahim abandons his own ideals and dreams of becoming a novelist, opting instead to follow his father's wishes and seek wealth and commercial success abroad. Thirty years later, lonely and disillusioned, Ibrahim returns to Ramallah to retrace the past he tried to leave behind. He sets out on a long and frustrating quest to track down Mariam, which takes him from the West Bank to Israel. Along the way he encounters his son, Michael, a young man with spiritual powers that enable him to see what is unknown and find what has gone missing. Moving and lyrical, Khalifeh's novel weaves religious and political symbolism into a story of love and loss. At its core is Ibrahim's--the Palestinian's--agonizing but unrelenting search for a home.
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