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A Long Walk from Gaza

A Long Walk from Gaza

The violence of life in Gaza which has taken on immense proportions for the whole world to see is intimately rendered here in a human story of resistance and resilience.

In the tradition of Palestinian women writers, Asmaa Alatawna a has gifted us a novel that is both personal and political, that exposes both the occupation and the patriarchy. A Long Walk from Gaza is a coming-of-age story that follows its teenage protagonist through her battles with a strict and abusive father, the exhilaration of her first crush, confrontations with occupation soldiers, and the heartbreak of leaving her home Gaza for a new life in Europe. Beginning in Europe and working backward to her own birth and early childhood, Alatawna’s creative narration mirrors the traumas of her life and her people.

A Long Walk from Gaza not only exposes the harshness of both male authority and the stifling of the dreams of girls in parallel with the devastating conditions Palestinians endure under a brutal Israeli occupation, but also the challenges of fleeing these for a cold, alienating life in Europe. Alatawna lays these bare within a story that also showcases moments of humor, joy, and the human capacity to survive and thrive at all costs. She skillfully weaves together the challenges of growing up in occupied Palestine while exposing the many intersections of violence, patriarchy, and growing up in a society that offers girls little to no compassion. Her teenage protagonist’s feminist point of view is fresh and honest, powerfully conveying the heartbreaking truths of her life.

At heart, A Long Walk from Gaza is a tale of freedom. Each of the characters is psychically wounded by their circumstances and each resists in their own way. Gaza comes to life in Alatawna's novel, showing a rich and diverse society—its flaws along with its beauty, showing us worlds, which are being destroyed and some of which no longer exist today.