I Was Born There, I Was Born Here, By Mourid Barghouti
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 10 November 2012
First in poetry, then in memoirs, Mourid Barghouti has converted the fragmentary, scattered experience of the Palestinian exile into a special kind of art.
In this slice of elegiac autobiography, a sort of sequel to I Saw Ramallah, he tells of his return visit to occupied Palestine and efforts to rediscover his past, his family, his memories.
As his Egyptian-born son Tamim at last sees his roots, Barghouti examines this homecoming in episodes of pin-sharp lyricism - and sardonic comedy. Humphrey Davies translates with his usual eloquence.
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