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The Inheritance

The Inheritance

Sahar Khalifeh
Translated by Aida Bamia
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 268
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  • Book Info
    The Inheritance
    Book Description:

    In this powerful novel, acclaimed Palestinian author Sahar Khalifeh examines the stark realities in the lives of Palestinian women. Through her protagonist, Zeynab, born to an American mother and a Palestinian father, Khalifeh illuminates the disorienting experience of living between two worlds, and the search for identity that mirrors the Palestinians’ own quest for nationhood. Set against the emotionally charged background of the early 1990s—when the Gulf War and the Oslo Accords fundamentally shifted the political landscape—The Inheritance takes as its subject the fate of young Palestinian women who supported their families for decades working elsewhere in the Middle East. In vivid prose, Khalifeh traces the disruption caused by the Gulf War on the life of these women, as Zeynab returns to her homeland and tries to adapt to her new life on the West Bank after years spent in Kuwait. In her previous novels, Sahar Khalifeh has established herself as the premier female novelist of the Palestinian diaspora; with The Inheritance, she breaks new ground in giving voice to these Palestinian women and their return from economic exile. With its critical portrayal of the Palestinian Authority, its mistakes, and limitations, The Inheritance offers a surprising look at the realities of Palestinian life and society. As the story of an immigrant torn between two cultures and struggling to adapt to both, Zeynab’s tale touches on universal themes that will resonate with readers everywhere.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-210-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Translator’s Note
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Part I

    • Chapter 1 Without Heritage
      (pp. 3-22)

      I went to the West Bank looking for him, looking for them, searching for my own face in the land of exile. I wanted to know how it would look. I had received a letter from a man saying that my father was somewhere; in other words, that he was still alive. He said that he was my father’s brother from Wadi al-Rihan.

      A huge gap separates Wadi al-Rihan from New York and Washington. I had always visualized Wadi al-Rihan as being the opposite of New York, as a small clean town inhabited by simple people, good-hearted and nature-loving, not...

  5. Part II

    • Chapter 2 This Inheritance
      (pp. 25-180)

      I received a letter from my uncle saying what amounted to, “Come quickly before the thread breaks and you lose your claim to the inheritance.” I lost no time thinking things over, but decided without hesitation. I felt at that moment as if I were standing before a window whose curtains were hiding the symbols of the country I had long dreamed of seeing. There was the affection of the family I had lost in my childhood and the warmth of my connection to the roots for which I had long searched in vain. So I gathered my things and...

  6. Part III

    • Chapter 3 And Then, The Inheritance
      (pp. 183-218)

      Weeks passed and the news of the sewage project spread, amid opposition and disapproval. People went to the municipality, to the mayors, to the governor, and the notables to complain, but the mayors said “Amen” and the notables washed their hands of it, leaving everything in God’s hands. They left the meetings and the deals and went east, seeking open spaces and the oil fields. It’s true that oil fields have a smell that can cause headaches, but they’re bearable headaches compared to the ones they faced in Wadi al-Rihan and its municipality. The headache caused by the oil fields...

  7. Glossary
    (pp. 219-222)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 223-224)