Out of It by Selma Dabbagh is a captivating book that should be read by people who are interested in an inside perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This novel, written by a Palestinian writer, focuses on Gaza and the enduring conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, and is mainly seen through the eyes of a brother (Rashid) and his twin sister (Iman), both 27 years old.
The characters in this book are vivid as well as believable and very likeable. A little plot summary: The book tells the story of a brother, Rashid, who is frequently portrayed as being high due to his constant smoking of marijuana and his sister Iman, a returnee to Gaza from Switzerland. Through their eyes, one finds himself looking deep into the issue of displacement in society. It is one of the major themes of this novel, as it is how the writer brings about the desperation of the Palestinian people. Although the protagonists come from a wealthy family with political connections, as the story evolves we begin to find out secrets of the past that lead to painful presents.
Anyone that knows me well, knows that the crisis of the Palestinian people is very dear to me, so I am probably biased in saying that this book is a great read for the general public, but in reference to an issue that needs a never ending amount of attention, this is a one side account of the crisis. It is clear that the Israelis are the enemy. Out of It is a book with many themes and layers, political as well as personal. There is the conflict between different nations, Palestine and Israel as well as between different family members.
The power of this novel is in its ability to be able to portray the awful conditions in Gaza to foreign readers better than the news itself. It has a sense of truth that the media lacks at times. Does it provide any answers to the irresolvable conflict in the Middle East? Not really, but it definitely is worth reading if you want any insight into the Palestinian crisis.
– Ghadeer Al-Otaibi