Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Native

by Sayed Kashua

With his unique perspective as an Israeli Palestinian, Sayed Kashua’s collection of personal essays is a frank, irreverent, thought-provoking exploration of discovering one’s identity, bridging cultural divides, and following creative passion—while raising a family in the process.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 304
  • Publication Date February 14, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2629-0
  • Dimensions 5" x 5"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 304
  • Publication Date February 02, 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2455-5
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $24.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date February 02, 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9018-5
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

Sayed Kashua has been praised by the New York Times as “a master of subtle nuance in dealing with both Arab and Jewish society.” An Israeli-Palestinian who lived in Jerusalem for most of his life, Kashua started writing in Hebrew with the hope of creating one story that both Palestinians and Israelis could relate to, rather than two that cannot coexist together. He devoted his novels and his satirical weekly column published in Haaretz to telling the Palestinian story and exploring the contradictions of modern Israel, while also capturing the nuances of everyday family life in all its tenderness and chaos.

Over the last few years, that weekly column of humorous personal essays has been among the most widely read and beloved columns in Israel. With an intimate tone fueled by deep-seated apprehension and a razor-sharp ironic wit, Kashua has been documenting his own life as well as that of society at large: he writes about his children’s upbringing and encounters with racism, about fatherhood and married life, the Jewish-Arab conflict, his professional ambitions, and–more than anything—his love of literature. From these circumstances, Kashua brings forth a series of brilliant, caustic, wry, and fearless reflections on social and cultural dynamics as experienced by someone who straddles two societies. Native, a selection of essays written between 2006 and 2014, reads like an unrestrained, profoundly thoughtful personal journal.

Praise

“Kashua simply narrates, column after column, the impossibility of living as an Arab in the Jewish state. Sure, the columns are still clever and entertaining in their left-handed antiheroism. They succeed in being symbolic without dissonance or figurative effort . . . This is among the most justified collections of newspaper columns ever published in Israel.” —Haaretz

“One of the most celebrated satirists in Hebrew literature . . . [Kashua] has an acerbic, dry wit and a talent for turning everyday events into apocalyptic scenarios.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“Kashua has devoted his career to telling the stories of Palestinian citizens of Israel . . . His writing, however, is principally devoted to showing Israelis what life as a minority is like, and he does so in an interesting way. The columns collected in this book are funny and self-deprecating, but with a kick.” —Winnipeg Free Press

“A rare window into the effects of Israel’s political climate on the personal lives of its residents . . . Though [Kashua’s] stories center on mundane moments (holidays with family, trips to the doctor, a quarrel with his wife), they are spiked with subtle social commentary–often funny, occasionally searing . . . the English translations now offer American readers a glimpse into everyday life in a region often portrayed in the media only in terms of violence and conflict.” —Shelf Awareness

“[This] collection of personal essays and newspaper columns will make you laugh until you cry . . . funny, tragic, illuminating . . . The possibility of real intimacy between Arabs and Jews, combined with the fact of frequent hostility, breeds a kind of paranoia, from which Kashua wrings a dark comedy . . . His comedy is a kind of humanism, based on the principle that people all basically have the same weaknesses and foibles.” —Adam Kirsch, Tablet Magazine

“A humorous and at times painful collection of anecdotes about life as an Israeli-Palestinian . . . Kashua is an original. The acclaimed novelist, screenwriter and columnist is unusual not only for his exceptional talent, but also because he’s an Israeli-born Palestinian who writes–and has had all this success–in Hebrew. His weekly personal essays in Israel’s left-leaning newspaper Haaretz are witty, self-deprecating and incisive.” —Eleanor Wachtel, Writers & Company, CBC radio

“Being a Palestinian who was born and raised in Israel, Sayed Kashua is an embodiment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If he only was a little less sincere, perceptive, and talented he would have probably been able to co-exist with himself. Native is a book that will make you lose most hope in the power of national processes but, at the same time, will leave you in awe about the incredible force of humanity, humor, and some good damn writing.” —Etgar Keret

“Just when you think everything that can be said about the Middle East has been said, Sayed Kashua brings us this remarkable book. At once hilarious and tragic, rueful and sweet, absurd and insightful, it should be required reading for anyone who thinks they know anything at all about Palestine and Israel.” —Ayelet Waldman

“What is most striking in these columns is the universality of what it means to be a father, husband and man.” —Toronto Star

“Moving, revealing.” —National Post

Excerpt

This week I discovered that I love revolutions, at least on television. They have a way of making most existential concerns disappear. When there’s a revolution in Egypt, you can’t really get depressed about not knowing what happens after you die. When there are millions out on the streets, that’s not the time to start panicking about contracting swine flu.

“Quiet!” I shouted at my daughter when she asked me to give her a ride to her music class earlier in the week. ‘music? They’re bringing down Mubarak and you want to talk to me about music? Do you know what it is to get Mubarak out?”

“Hey, maybe you could get the dishes out of the sink,” suggested my wife.

“What’s wrong with you?” I barely turned my head away from the screen when I responded. “You want me to miss the event that’s about to change the face of the region just because of a few dirty dishes? People are dying in the streets and you want me to take care of some dishes.”

“Fine,” she said.

“I’ll take her to her class and you keep on starting revolutions from the sofa. Just watch where you spit out the sunflower seeds.”