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Native
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Native
Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life
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Essays by "Jerusalem's version of Charles Bukowski . . . Just as aware and critical—of his city, his family, Israel, the Arabs, but most of all of himself" (NPR).
Sayed Kashua has been praised by the New York Times as "a master of subtle nuance in dealing with both Arab and Jewish society." An Arab-Israeli who lived in Jerusalem for most of his life, Kashua started writing with the hope of creating one story that both Palestinians and Israelis could relate to, rather than two that cannot coexist together. He devoted his novels and his satirical weekly column published in Haaretz to telling the Palestinian story and exploring the contradictions of modern Israel, while also capturing the nuances of everyday family life in all its tenderness and chaos.
With an intimate tone fueled by deep-seated apprehension and razor-sharp ironic wit, Kashua has been documenting his own life as well as that of society at large: he writes about his children's upbringing and encounters with racism, about fatherhood and married life, the Jewish-Arab conflict, his professional ambitions, travels around the world as an author, and—more than anything—his love of books and literature. He brings forth a series of brilliant, caustic, wry, and fearless reflections on social and cultural dynamics as experienced by someone who straddles two societies.
"One of the most celebrated satirists in Hebrew literature . . . [Kashua] has an acerbic, dry wit and a talent for turning everyday events into apocalyptic scenarios."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"What is most striking in these columns is the universality of what it means to be a father, husband and man."—Toronto Star

Essays by "Jerusalem's version of Charles Bukowski . . . Just as aware and critical—of his city, his family, Israel, the Arabs, but most of all of himself" (NPR).
Sayed Kashua has been praised by the New York Times as "a master of subtle nuance in dealing with both Arab and Jewish society." An Arab-Israeli who lived in Jerusalem for most of his life, Kashua started writing with the hope of creating one story that both Palestinians and Israelis could relate to, rather than two that cannot coexist together. He devoted his novels and his satirical weekly column published in Haaretz to telling the Palestinian story and exploring the contradictions of modern Israel, while also capturing the nuances of everyday family life in all its tenderness and chaos.
With an intimate tone fueled by deep-seated apprehension and razor-sharp ironic wit, Kashua has been documenting his own life as well as that of society at large: he writes about his children's upbringing and encounters with racism, about fatherhood and married life, the Jewish-Arab conflict, his professional ambitions, travels around the world as an author, and—more than anything—his love of books and literature. He brings forth a series of brilliant, caustic, wry, and fearless reflections on social and cultural dynamics as experienced by someone who straddles two societies.
"One of the most celebrated satirists in Hebrew literature . . . [Kashua] has an acerbic, dry wit and a talent for turning everyday events into apocalyptic scenarios."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"What is most striking in these columns is the universality of what it means to be a father, husband and man."—Toronto Star

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About the Author-
  • Sayed Kashua is a Palestinian Arab who lived in Jerusalem until July 2014; he now lives in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. He is the author of three novels: DANCING ARABS (2002), LET IT BE MORNING (2004) and SECOND PERSON SINGULAR (2010). Kashua publishes a weekly column in Haaretz newspaper and is the creator and script writer of the critically acclaimed satiric television sitcom "Arab Labor." The film, DANCING ARABS, based on that novel and in part, SECOND PERSON SINGULAR, opened the Jerusalem International Film Festival in July 2014.
    Kashua is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2004 Grinzane Cavour Award for First Novel 2004 (Italy), the 2005 Prime Minister's Prize (Israel), the 2006 Lessing Prize for Critic (Germany), the 2010 SFJFF Freedom of Expression Award in 2010 (USA), the 2011 Bernstein Prize (Israel) and the 2012 Prix des Lecteurs du Var (France).

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 12, 2015
    This startling and insightful collection of Kashua’s (Second Person Singular) popular weekly columns for the Hebrew-language newspaper Haaretz narrates the sobering reality of life as an Israeli-Palestinian. A sense of mistrust and fear constantly thrums beneath his otherwise humorous reports on family life, literary life, and occasional drunkenness. Behind the bashful, bumbling antiheroics and ubiquitous self-deprecation lies a quiet, sane voice pleading for integration of “the two narratives of the two peoples.” Kashua conveys devastating social critique through dry wit, precise metaphor, and seemingly innocent subjects, while in the periphery the rife racism and rising body count speak to the increasing struggle to reconcile two drastically different viewpoints. Whether recounting the insults encountered by his children, shaming from friends and critics alike, Kafkaesque encounters with the civil justice system, or his dreams of escape, Kashua maintains a light satiric tone and steady compassion even as the essays slide into disillusionment. Some nuances may be lost on American audiences, but Kashua’s subtly shaded, necessarily complex, and ultimately despairing account of the tensions within his homeland, “so beloved and so cursed,” is bound to open the eyes and awaken the sympathies of a new swath of loyal readers. Agent: Deborah Harris, Deborah Harris Agency.

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2015
    A journalist and novelist's sharp-eyed take on his life as a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian in Jerusalem. In this collection of columns for Haaretz, a weekly Israeli newspaper, Kashua (Israel Studies/Univ. of Illinois; Second Person Singular, 2012, etc.) illuminates the condition of Palestinians in Israel by offering humorous, and at times painful, anecdotes about his own life. In the opening essay, the author establishes the satiric tone that characterizes the text, poking fun at himself as "a chronic liar [and] gossip" by assuming the voice of his long-suffering wife. Kashua then goes on to detail the inconveniences that his family suffers as ethnic and religious minorities in Jerusalem. Believers in a bicultural, bilingual Israel, the author and his wife found their ideals under constant siege. In "High Tech," for example, he describes an outing with his young daughter when he told her she could speak Arabic "everywhere, anytime [she] want[ed], but not at the entrance to a mall," which was protected by heavily armed Israeli security guards. His deeper anxieties about being a minority are apparent in such essays as "Taking Notice." There, he tells the story of a sign he put up at the all-Jewish apartment complex where he and his upwardly mobile family moved. The possibility of not being accepted by his neighbors bothered him so much that he worried incessantly about everything, including whether he was using proper Hebrew phrases and handwriting techniques. Yet the careful moderation he practiced while living in a country hostile to Palestinians offered him neither peace nor safety from either "Israelis who hurl accusations of betrayal and disloyalty...[or] Arabs who hurl accusations of betrayal and segregation." Eventually, Kashua and his family moved to the United States, where they faced "another type of society and the inevitable acclimatization problems." By turns funny, angry, and moving, Kashua's "dispatches" offer revealing glimpses into the meanings of family and fatherhood and provide keen insight into the deeply rooted complexities of a tragic conflict. A wickedly ironic but humane collection.

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2015

    Distinguished Israeli novelist Kashua has won a half-dozen international awards and publishes a weekly column in Haaretz newspaper; the film Dancing Arabs, which draws on two of his novels, opened the Jerusalem International Film Festival in July 2014. He's also a Palestinian Arab who recently moved his family to Urbana-Champaign, IL, explaining that he had finally despaired of his dream of Jewish-Arab coexistence. Written between 2006 and 2014, the essays here explore the personal and the political and how they intersect.

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Toronto Star "What is most striking in these columns is the universality of what it means to be a father, husband and man."
  • National Post "Moving, revealing."
  • Publishers Weekly "Startling and insightful. . . . Kashua conveys devastating social critique through dry wit, precise metaphor, and seemingly innocent subjects, while in the periphery the rife racism and rising body count speak to the increasing struggle to reconcile two drastically different viewpoints. . . . Kashua's subtly shaded, necessarily complex, and ultimately despairing account of the tensions within his homeland, 'so beloved and so cursed,' is bound to open the eyes and awaken the sympathies of a new swath of loyal readers."
  • Kirkus Reviews "By turns funny, angry, and moving, Kashua's 'dispatches' offer revealing glimpses into the meanings of family and fatherhood and provide keen insight into the deeply rooted complexities of a tragic conflict. A wickedly ironic but humane collection."
  • Haaretz "Kashua simply narrates, column after column, the impossibility of living as an Arab in the Jewish state. Sure, the columns are still clever and entertaining in their left-handed anti-heroism. They succeed in being symbolic without dissonance or figurative effort. . . . This is among the most justified collections of newspaper columns ever published in Israel."
  • Etgar Keret "Being a Palestinian who was born and raised in Israel, Sayed Kashua is an embodiment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If he only was a little less sincere, perceptive, and talented he would have probably been able to co-exist with himself. Native is a book that will make you lose most hope in the power of national processes but, at the same time, will leave you in awe about the incredible force of humanity, humor, and some good damn writing."
  • Ayelet Waldman "Just when you think everything that can be said about the Middle East has been said, Sayed Kashua brings us this remarkable book. At once hilarious and tragic, rueful and sweet, absurd and insightful, it should be required reading for anyone who thinks they know anything at all about Palestine and Israel."
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