The Parisian is a sublime reading experience: delicate, restrained, surpassingly intelligent, uncommonly poised and truly beautiful. --Zadie SmithAs the First World War shatters families, destroys friendships and kills lovers, a young Palestinian dreamer sets out to find himself.
Midhat Kamal is the son of a wealthy textile merchant from Nablus, a town in Ottoman Palestine. In 1914 he leaves to study medicine in France, and embarks on a love affair that ends in catastrophe and alters him profoundly. A dreamer, a romantic, an aesthete-he returns to Nablus heartbroken to fins Palestine under British rule, and the entire region erupting with nationalist fervor. Midhat must find a way to cope with his conflicting loyalties and the expectations of his community, just as new tensions create fissures between-and within-families. The story of this young man?s life develops alongside the idea of a nation, as Midhat and those close to him confront what It means to strive for independence in a world that seems on the verge of falling apart. Against a landscape of political change that continues to define the Middle East today, The Parisian explores questions of power and identity, the subject and the subjected, the enduring and multiple power of love, and the uncanny ability of the past to trespass onto the present.
Isabella Hammad was born in London. She won the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction for her story 'Mr. Can?aan'. Her writing has appeared in Conjunctions and the Paris Review. The Parisian is her first novel.
"The Parisian is a sublime reading experience: delicate, restrained, surpassingly intelligent, uncommonly poised and truly beautiful. It is realism in the tradition of Flaubert and Stendhal - everything that happens feels not so much imagined as ordained. That this remarkable historical epic should be the debut of a writer in her twenties seems impossible, yet it's true. Isabella Hammad is an enormous talent and her book is a wonder." -- Zadie Smith "The Parisian is a lushly imagined, beautifully written, expansive powerhouse of a debut. Isabella Hammad is a great new voice. " Nathan Englander "The Parisian is a gripping historical novel, a poignant romance, and a revelatory family epoch. Above all, it is a generous gift. There is a kind of joy that can hold not only pleasure, but struggle, and even sadness. This novel tells that kind of joyful story, and evokes that kind of joy in the reader." -- Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated, and Here I Am "The Parisian is extraordinary-wise, ambitious, and lavishly rewarding. With luminous prose and rare compassion, Bella Hammad offers her readers an absorbing story of war and identity, of love and independence, of hope and history. It's an astonishing novel, heralding the arrival of a major talent." -- Bret Anthony Johnston
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