Black Cat
Black Cat
Black Cat

Recognizing the Stranger

On Palestine and Narrative

by Isabella Hammad

“Extraordinary and amazingly erudite. Hammad shows how art and especially literature can be much, much more revealing than political writing.”—Rashid Khalidi, author of the New York Times bestseller The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine

From the award-winning novelist of The Parisian and Enter Ghost comes an outstanding essay on the Palestinian struggle and the power of narrative

  • Imprint Black Cat
  • Page Count 96
  • Publication Date September 24, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6392-9
  • Dimensions 5" x 7.25"
  • US List Price $18.00
  • Imprint Black Cat
  • Publication Date September 24, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6402-5
  • US List Price $18.00

Isabella Hammad, author of The Parisian and Enter Ghost, delivered the Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture at Columbia University nine days before October 7th, 2023. The text of Hammad’s seminal speech and her afterword, written in the early weeks of 2024, together make up a searing appraisal of the war on Palestine during what seems a turning point in the narrative of human history. Profound and moving, Hammad writes from within the moment, shedding light on the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Recognizing the Stranger is a brilliant melding of literary and cultural analysis by one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and a foremost writer of fiction in the world today.

Praise for Recognizing the Stranger:

Recognizing the Stranger combines intellectual brilliance with moral clarity and profound resoluteness of purpose. This is a book that calls us to witness our place in history. Isabella Hammad deserves our thanks for sharing it with the world.”—Sally Rooney, author of Beautiful World, Where Are You

“A pitch perfect example of how the novelist can get to the heart of the matter better than a million argumentative articles. Hammad shows us how the Palestinian struggle is the story of humanity itself, and asks us not to look away, but to see ourselves.”Max Porter, author of Shy

Hammad’s writing burns with fierce intelligence, humane insight and righteous anger. For those at risk of despair, doubtful of the role literature has to play in times of crisis, it is a reminder of the radical potential of reading and the possibility of change.”—Olivia Sudjic, author of Asylum Road

Praise for Enter Ghost and The Parisian:

“Isabella Hammad is a master of subtle nuance.”—New York Times

[Hammad] is at once able to trace broad social and historical terrains without losing her grasp of particulars, giving a surgical finesse to her writing about the human personality. Her style is often labeled ‘exquisite.’ These skills put her in the company of other postcolonial literary novelists such as Ahdaf Soueif and Abraham Verghese.”—Washington Post

Hammad is not only a talented novelist; she is also a rigorous researcher, and she paints an authentic picture of Palestinian life, whether it takes place inside Israel or in the West Bank . . . In Enter Ghost, Hammad navigates between the personal and the political in what has come to be her signally seamless manner. She moves across these borders often, almost as if they did not exist.”—Raja Shehadeh, The Nation

Assured and formidable.”—Wall Street Journal

Terrific . . . Enter Ghost though contemporary, is thoroughly infused with Palestine’s past — and thoroughly haunted by Sonia’s. Hammad, who is both a delicate writer and an exact one, intertwines the two, taking care to give Sonia as many personal ghosts as she does historical ones . . . Indeed, the novel seems to argue, real growth and connection, both political and personal, cannot begin until everyone’s ghosts have emerged from hiding. Art is, if nothing else, a powerful tool for coaxing them out.”—New York Times Book Review

[Hammad is] a calm and vital storyteller, a writer of real rhythmic grace.”—Ali Smith, The Guardian

Can a work of art act upon the world? In a humanitarian and political crisis, what kind of contribution is a play? These questions rise gradually to the surface in the British Palestinian writer Isabella Hammad’s Enter Ghost . . . Hammad refracts her philosophical inquiry through an elegant assem­blage of metatextual layers, filling her novel with plays within plays, works that comment directly on the uses of art.”—Jewish Currents

Captivating . . . A deeply moving narrative that illuminates the lived realities of Palestinians in the West Bank, skillfully interweaving themes of resilience, the struggle for self-discovery, and the complex performance of identity in everyday life.”—Harper’s Bazaar

Hammad uses the features of historical novels to cut through the familiar dichotomies of West and Near East, placing her protagonist in a rich web of families, political intrigues, and cultural exchanges, and subtly reconfiguring the literary tropes of ‘home’ and ‘abroad.’”—New Yorker

Dazzling . . . A deeply imagined historical novel with none of the usual cobwebs of the genre . . . The Parisian has an up-close immediacy and stylistic panache… that are all the more impressive coming from a London-born writer still in her 20s . . . Exquisite.”—New York Times Book Review