Arabesques Background

Arabesques Background

Arabesques was written by Palestinian author Anton Shammas and was published during 2001. This novel tells a captivating story about the complex lives of Palestinian Christians, which is centered on Shammas' upbringing. During his youth, he studied at an integrated Jewish-Arab high school while in Haifa. He later studied English and Arabic literature and art history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem after moving to Jerusalem.

Shammas lets readers explore a bittersweet world of spiritual devotion and political opposition that shapes the double consciousness of Palestinian Christians. In other words, taking on the dominant religion or culture of an opposing nation (Israel) has led these Palestinians to experience a clash between identity, memory, and history tied to Middle Eastern culture. This riveting novel even ties this complicated experience to places outside the Middle East, such as Iowa and New York. Arabesques was picked as a top book of 1988 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review.

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