Friday, 29 November 2019

The Sea Cloak & Other Stories by Nayrouz Qarmout @NayrouzQarmout @commapress #TheSeaCloak





Drawing from her own experiences growing up in a Syrian refugee camp, as well as her current life in Gaza, these stories stitch together a patchwork of different perspectives into what it means to be a woman in Palestine today.

Whether following the daily struggles of orphaned children fighting to survive in the rubble of recent bombardments, or mapping the complex, cultural tensions between different generations of refugees in wider Gazan society, these stories offer rare insights into one of the most talked about, but least understood cities in the Middle East.

Taken together, the collection affords us a local perspective on a global story, and it does so thanks to a cast of (predominantly female) characters whose vantage point is rooted, firmly, in that most cherished of things, the home.




The Sea Cloak & Other Stories by Nayrouz Qarmout  was published by Comma Press on 22 August 2019.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I've always enjoyed short stories and seem to be reading more collections recently. This is a collection of stories that draw on the author's own experiences of growing up in Gaza. She was born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria and moved to Gaza aged eleven.

For someone whose knowledge of Gaza is painfully lacking; I felt enlightened by Qarmout's stories. Written in accessible language with skill and power that is really quite absorbing.
With a theme of 'home' and what homeland means to the author running through them, these stories are both educating and entertaining.
Stunning depictions of the brutality of humans alongside the innocence and hope of children; the author's voice is confident and authoritative.

The lives of everyday people, living in extraordinary circumstances, finely detailed and beautifully written.  I've read some of these stories more than once, and will probably be reading them again soon.




Nayrouz Qarmout is a Palestinian writer and activist. 
Born in Damascus in 1984, as a Palestinian refugee, she returned to the Gaza Strip, as part of the 1994 Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, where she now lives. 
She graduated from al-Azhar University in Gaza with a degree in Economics. 
She currently works in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, raising awareness of gender issues and promoting the political and economic role of women in policy and law, as well as the defence of women from abuse, and highlighting the role of women’s issues in the media. 
Her political, social and literary articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, and online. 
She has also written screenplays for several short films dealing with women’s rights. 
She is a social activist and a member of several youth initiatives, campaigning for social change in Palestine.

Twitter @NayrouzQarmout




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