Born in Arrabeh, north of Nazareth in the Galilee, Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh is his village’s first Western-trained physician. His profession gives him intimate access to his neighbour’s lives. Kananneh chronicles their stories in his book Chief complaint, naming each chapter after the “chief complaint” of its protagonist, the principal reason that the patient sought medical attention at Kanaaneh’s clinic.
While the chapters have titles such as Hair Loss, Chest Pain and Nausea, they divulge much more than the medical ailments of a village. Through the fictional stories of characters treated by Dr. Kanaaneh (although fictional they are concocted out of multiple, real patients of his), the author invites us to share in their memories, struggles and hopes, and, with them, paints a rich portrait of village life and its social customs. Truths about the Palestine- Israel conflict are peppered throughout these tales and we learn much about less touched upon aspects of its history.
This book has been shortlisted for the 2015 Palestine book awards. Read the full review on the Palestine book awards site.