Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life

After a decade as a columnist for the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Sayed Kashua has shared much of himself with the public. Described by the New Yorker in 2015 as "perhaps the most visible representative of Palestinian life in Israel," Kashua has written hundreds of personal stories, as well as the popular television sitcom Arab Labor and three novels (Dancing Arabs, Let It Be Morning and Second Person Singular). Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life collects his columns, translated to English by Ralph Mandel.

Kashua's work is a rare window into the effects of Israel's political climate on the personal lives of its residents. When he began the column, he wrote in Hebrew, which, though not his native tongue (he grew up in Tira, a small Arab village in the Triangle region of Israel), was the language he'd had to learn at age 14, as the only Arab student in his high school class. Though his 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. After being ID'd on his way into a mall, he tells his daughter, "It's fine to speak Arabic everywhere, anytime you want, but not at the entrance to the mall, okay, sweetie?" As writing in Hebrew opened Kashua's experience to a Jewish Israeli audience, 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. --Annie Atherton

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