As the First World War shatters families, destroys friendships and kills lovers, a young Palestinian dreamer sets out to find himself.
Midhat Kamal picks his way across a fractured world, from the shifting politics of the Middle East to the dinner tables of Montpellier and a newly tumultuous Paris. He discovers that everything is fragile: love turns to loss, friends become enemies and everyone is looking for a place to belong.
Isabella Hammad delicately unpicks the tangled politics and personal tragedies of a turbulent era – the Palestinian struggle for independence, the strife of the early twentieth century and the looming shadow of the Second World War. An intensely human story amidst a global conflict, The Parisian is historical fiction with a remarkable contemporary voice.
About the Author
Isabella Hammad was born in London. She won the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction for her story 'Mr. Can’aan'. Her writing has appeared in Conjunctions and the Paris Review. The Parisian is her first novel.
The Parisian is a sublime reading experience: delicate, restrained, surpassingly intelligent, uncommonly poised and truly beautiful. It is realism in the tradition of Flaubert and Stendhal - everything that happens feels not so much imagined as ordained. That this remarkable historical epic should be the debut of a writer in her twenties seems impossible, yet it's true. Isabella Hammad is an enormous talent and her book is a wonder. ” -
“ The Parisian is a lushly imagined, beautifully written, expansive powerhouse of a debut. Isabella Hammad is a great new voice. ” -
“ The Parisian is a gripping historical novel, a poignant romance, and a revelatory family epoch. Above all, it is a generous gift. There is a kind of joy that can hold not only pleasure, but struggle, and even sadness. This novel tells that kind of joyful story, and evokes that kind of joy in the reader. ” -
Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated, and Here I Am
“ The Parisian is extraordinary—wise, ambitious, and lavishly rewarding. With luminous prose and rare compassion, Bella Hammad offers her readers an absorbing story of war and identity, of love and independence, of hope and history. It’s an astonishing novel, heralding the arrival of a major talent. ” -
Bret Anthony Johnston
“ The Parisian is a hugely accomplished historical sweep of a book… a novel of immense skill and confidence. ” -
Ursula Kenny, Observer *Hottest-tipped debut novelists of 2019*
“ An assured debut novel that sets the life of one man against the tumultuous backdrop of Palestine in the waning years of British occupation… Closely observed and elegantly written. ” -
Kirkus *Starred Review*