Mother of Strangers tells us the story of Subhi and Shams, two young teens living in Jaffa in 1947 as Palestine is partitioned. We hear the heartbreaking tale of these two hopeful children who must cope with the changes, uncertainty and violence that is thrust into their lives. Subhi is this dreamer of a boy who is an absolute wizard at fixing mechanical things. He loves to read and is fascinated with the more affluent world. When he is able to fix an irrigation system for a rich landowner, he is paid with a gorgeous “English” style suit. He adores this suit and what it represents in his life, a chance for all of his dreams to come true, he hopes one day to marry local girl Shams while wearing that suit. We get several dreamy chapters of the impact of this suit on his life. An impact that is short lived as his town is torn apart by violence. Then no one believes that this peasant boy could possibly own this suit.
This is the experience of many Muslim Palestinains who went overnight from having homes and livelihoods to being run out of their lands forced to live as refugees with nothing or worse being killed. This story gives us a clear snapshot of what these two families faced, a story, that we learn in the end is all true, experienced by the family of the author. Very powerful read with what is a not often heard perspective here in the Western world. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks to Pantheon Books for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.
These three books are all great reads to understand some of the struggle it is to be Palestinain. I recommend checking them out.