The Image, the Icon, and the Covenant

Sahar Khalifeh
Translated by Aida Bamia

Documenting a historic struggle with fresh vision, Sahar Khalifeh has penned what is at once a re-casting of the story of the Holy Family, a lyrical o

English edition
192 pp.
15X23cm
ISBN 9789774166068
Not for sale in North America

$18.95

Documenting a historic struggle with fresh vision, Sahar Khalifeh has penned what is at once a re-casting of the story of the Holy Family, a lyrical ode to Arab Jerusalem, and a call for liberation, not just of a nation but of its individual women and men. After abandoning his beloved Mariam when she falls pregnant, and escaping her brothers’ bullets, Ibrahim abandons his own ideals and dreams of becoming a fiction writer, opting instead to follow the path of wealth and commercial success abroad approved by his father. Thirty years later, lonely and disillusioned, an older Ibrahim returns to Ramallah to retrace the past he tried to leave behind. He sets out on a long and frustrating quest to track down Mariam, which takes him from the West Bank to Israel. Along the way he encounters his son, Michael, a young man with spiritual powers that enable him to see what is unknown and find what has gone missing. The novel weaves religious and political symbolism into a story of love and loss. At its core is Ibrahim’s—the Palestinian’s—agonizing but unrelenting search for a home, a center, fulfillment that, despite material success, continues to be elusive.

Sahar Khalifeh

Sahar Khalifeh was born in the West Bank city of Nablus in 1941 and is the author of eight novels. A former Fulbright scholar, she holds a B.A. from Bir Zeit University, and a Ph.D. in women’s studies and American literature from the University of Iowa. She divides her time between Amman and Nablus. Aida Bamia is professor of Arabic language and literature at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She is the editor of Al-‘Arabiyya, the journal of the American Association of Teachers of Arabic, and the author of The Graying of the Raven: Cultural and Sociopolitical Significance of Algerian Folk Poetry (AUC Press 2001).

Aida Bamia

Aida Bamia is currently professor of Arabic language and literature at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she has been since 1985.
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