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(أحمد حرب)

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The first volume of a historical trilogy about Palestine during three different time periods: after the 1967 war, during the first Intifada (1987-1993), and after the Oslo agreements.

Ismail is the first volume of a trilogy that was republished in 2018 by Dar El Shorouk. The the other volumes include الجانب الاخر من أرض المعاد (The Other Side of the Promised Land, 1990, original translated excerpt available) and بقايا (Remains, 1996).

Ismail takes place in the village of Al-Ain in the West Bank after the 1967 war. Following his release from an Israeli prison, Ismail, the main character, discovers how Palestinian society has evolved in his absence and the gap between his beliefs and those of his family, society and other political organisations.

Without following a linear narrative, the second volume describes the first Intifada that erupted in 1987 as an objective correlative for the complex political, social, and psychological realities of the seemingly endless conflict. The Palestinians are now beating on the walls of the water tank, contrary to those who suffocated to death in silence in Ghassan Kanafani’s novel, Men in the Sun.

The final part of the trilogy concerns Palestine after the Oslo agreements were signed in 1993. The reader sees how the revolutionary Ismail evolves over time.

The trilogy combines a polyphonic narration process. Dramatic dialogues across the political spectrum including a revolutionary, a collaborator, an Israeli soldier, a settler, and Palestinian and Israeli writers and intellectuals are also presented to reveal the complexity of reality. The past imposes itself on the present predicting a gloomy future of constraints, fears, and disasters. Through a multidimensional historical narrative and storytelling technique, the trilogy inscribes the specific Palestinian case within a universal dynamic that can be found in other global liberation movements.

Approximate of pages: 168 p.

Foreign rights: contact the author


Translation samples

Reasons to publish this book

This trilogy is a departure from Harb’s first novel, Tale of a returnee, (Hikayat ‘Aed, 1982) which was a response to Yitzhak Orpaz’s novel Ants. Harb was inspired by modernist writers; he employs intertextuality and varying structural and narrative techniques in his narration to present the Palestinian question as effectively and artistically as possible.

Prizes and awards

  • The State of Palestine National Prize for literature 1997


The Image Of The Jew In Ahmad Harb’s Trilogy by European American Journal, February 2017

Reviewed by Sbeih Sbeih