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Published to coincide the with 50th anniversary of the Israel occupation of the West Bank, an anthology that explores the human cost of the conflict there as witnessed by such notable writers as Colum McCann, Colm Toibin, Dave Eggers, Madeleine Thien, Eimear McBride, Taiye Selasi and editors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman.
June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Israel occupation of the West Bank. The violence on both sides of the conflict has been horrific, the casualties catastrophic. Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, two of today's most renowned novelists and essayists, have joined forces with the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence—an organization comprised of former Israeli soldiers who served in the occupied territories and saw firsthand the injustice there—and a host of illustrious writers to tell the stories of the people on the ground in the contested territories.
KINGDOM OF OLIVES AND ASH includes contributions from some of our most esteemed storytellers, including essays from editors Chabon and Waldman. Their writing enables readers to understand the human narratives behind the litany of grim destruction broadcasted nightly on the news. Together they all stand witness to the human cost of the occupation.
‘Moving, heartbreaking, and infuriating, testifying to the chilling cruelty of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians … Deeply unsettling, important’ Kirkus
‘The message is unwavering: life under occupation is frightening and oppressive. Strong efforts include Geraldine Brooks’s opening piece, about two Palestinian children caught up in cyclical violence. Rachel Kushner draws out the unsavory subject of Palestinian-on-Palestinian violence. Chabon himself addresses the curbs placed on Palestinian commerce and how this also redefines the Palestinian experience of “normal life.”’ Publishers Weekly
About the author
Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Moonglow and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, among many others. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.
Ayelet Waldman is the author of, among other books, the memoir A Really Good Day and the novel Love & Treasure. She is the editor of the anthology Inside This Place Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons.
Authors Waldman and Chabon, together with the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, a group of former soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza, have compiled a hefty volume of essays about life in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. The results vary, but the message is unwavering: life under occupation is frightening and oppressive. Strong efforts include Geraldine Brooks's opening piece, about two Palestinian children caught up in cyclical violence. Rachel Kushner draws out the unsavory subject of Palestinian-on-Palestinian violence. Chabon himself addresses the curbs placed on Palestinian commerce and how this also redefines the Palestinian experience of "normal life." But other writers see the occupation through self-involved lenses, and Waldman, in her wrenching account of detained children and their training in nonviolent resistance, seems to only belatedly realize that the attention she gives her sources adds to their troubles. Because of the limits of the NGO's network, the same anti-occupation activists repeat their roles as informants and show up in multiple essays, reinforcing the situation's grinding hopelessness. Hannah Barag, an Israeli octogenarian and checkpoint monitor, is a rare voice of prediction amid the general feeling of stasis: "I think the system is going to collapse."