If You Loved Mourid Barghouti’s /I Saw Ramallah/, Then You’ll Want to Read…

Aha! You’re expecting me to say Barghouti’s I Was Born There, I Was Born Here, which I would, except you already know you want to read Barghouti’s follow-up memoir, which should be out in English next fall from AUC Press. (The translation, I’m told, is being done by Humphrey Davies.)

But I’m not. I’m going to tell you to read Specters, by Barghouti’s wife and life-partner, Radwa Ashour.

Specters, which is out in English this month from Interlink (U.S.), Arabia (U.K.) and AUC Press (M.E.N.A.), is not a memoir. At least, not exactly. It follows both Radwa and her fictional Shagar through their lives in Egypt and their urge to write about the slaughter in Deir Yassin.

I can’t say much about Specters, or the magazine for which I’m reviewing the book might be peeved, but parts are like revisiting I Saw Ramallah from the point of view of another character. From the usually stoic Ashour:

Her husband stands on one side of the divider, she stands with her son on the other. They call the passengers for boarding. Her husband holds out his hand to say goodbye, she clutches at his hand, beginning to weep. Weeping breaks into sobbing. Her husband entreats her to cancel her trip and go back home with him. “We can postpone the journey,” he says. She shakes her head, dries her tears, and proceeds with her son onto the plane.