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A Day in the Life of Abed Salama : A Palestine Story - Nathan Thrall

A Day in the Life of Abed Salama

A Palestine Story

By: Nathan Thrall

Hardcover | 3 October 2023 | Edition Number 1

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A gripping, intimate story of one heartbreaking day in Palestine that reveals lives, loves, enmities, and histories in violent collision

Milad is five years old and excited for his school trip to a theme park on the outskirts of Jerusalem, but tragedy awaits- his bus is involved in a horrific accident. His father, Abed, rushes to the chaotic site, only to find Milad has already been taken away. Abed sets off on a journey to learn Milad's fate, navigating a maze of physical, emotional, and bureaucratic obstacles he must face as a Palestinian.

Interwoven with Abed's odyssey are the stories of Jewish and Palestinian characters whose lives and pasts unexpectedly converge- a kindergarten teacher and a mechanic who rescue children from the burning bus; an Israeli army commander and a Palestinian official who confront the aftermath at the scene of the crash; a settler paramedic; ultra-Orthodox emergency service workers; and two mothers who each hope to claim one severely injured boy.

A Day in the Life of Abed Salama is a deeply immersive, stunningly detailed portrait of life in Israel and Palestine, and an illumination of the reality of one of the most contested places on earth.

About the Author

Nathan Thrall is the author of The Only Language They Understand- Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine. His writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, Guardian, New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Magazine and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He spent a decade at the International Crisis Group, where he was Director of the Arab-Israeli Project, and has taught at Bard College, New York. He lives in Jerusalem.
Industry Reviews
A deeply immersive portrait of daily life in Israel and the West Bank arranged around the story of a Palestinian child and a school trip that ends in tragedy following a traffic accident. Weaving together the ordinary and interwoven lives of Jewish and Palestinian inhabitants, Thrall, a Jerusalem-based author and journalist, illuminates the complex realities of one of the world's most contested regions -- The Best Books to Understand the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict * Financial Times *

Nathan Thrall's searing new book, A Day in the Life of Abed Salama, struck me as important even before the obscene massacres and mass kidnappings committed by Hamas this month lit the Middle East on fire. Today, with people still struggling to understand the contours of this deeply complicated conflict, the book seems essential -- Michelle Goldberg * New York Times *

Shows humanity on both sides... The author writes coolly, carefully, without rhetoric or invective. He does not claim neutrality - the daily humiliations of Israeli occupation thud like a drumbeat on every page - but he avoids arm-twisting reportage or cartoonish history. No one portrayed here lacks humanity or complexity... quietly heartbreaking... a galloping narrative of hope and dread -- Boyd Tonkin * Financial Times *

A compelling work of nonfiction, a book that is by turns deeply affecting and, in its concluding chapters, as tense as a thriller.... not only a meticulously detailed account of one event but perhaps the clearest picture yet of the reality of daily life in the occupied territories -- Jonathan Freedland * Guardian *

This quietly heartbreaking work of non-fiction reads like a novel. At its centre is a tragic road accident outside Jerusalem in the West Bank from which Thrall, a Jewish American journalist, carefully traces the labyrinthine lives of those involved and the tangled web of politics, history and culture that ensnare them all -- Carl Wilkinson * Financial Times Best Books of 2023, Literary Non-Fiction *

Chronicles the asymmetry in the occupied West Bank today that its main character cannot reverse. It is one of the most effective presentations of quotidian injustice I have read, precisely because the story Thrall narrates is not a matter of the gory violence that has become so prevalent in the region since -- Samuel Moyn * New Statesman Best Books of the Year 2023 *

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