Author: Lilas Taha
Hardback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing
Published Date: 13 August 2015
Review by Nahrain Al-Mousawi
Lilas Taha‘s novel Bitter Almonds explores the meaning of family in the Palestinian diaspora; unconventional, unrelated and unbound by blood ties. The narrative centres on Omar Bakry, a Palestinian born in 1948 Jerusalem, in the midst of a town massacre. The neighbours take Omar, his sister Fatima, his ailing mother and the midwife with them as they flee. Orphaned, Omar and his sister become part of the neighbour’s family, led by Mustafa and Mama Subhia. Refugees in Damascus, Syria, this family of eight lives in a cramped two-bedroom apartment and survives on Mustafa’s meagre salary from a wool factory.