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Sharon and My Mother-In-Law: Ramallah Diaries.

SHARON AND MY MOTHER-IN-LAW Ramallah Diaries By Suad Amiry published by Granta Books ISBN 1 86207 721 5 price 12.99 [pounds sterling] hardback

Surprisingly funny, and refreshingly different from any other writings on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, describes Suad Amiry's experience of living in the West Bank from the early 1980s to the present. Amiry tells us about the life and gossip of her neighbourhood in Ramallah, her moving family history and the struggle to live a normal life in an insane situation; from the impossibility of acquiring gas masks during the first Gulf War to her dog getting a Jerusalem Passport when thousands of Palestinians couldn't.

Amiry describes the agony of falling in love when you live in a country with a Byzantine system of Israeli permits, passes and checkpoints and the sheer difficulty for Palestinians of moving from one place to another in this tiny country, and about the effects of Israel's 'Security Wall'.

The book contains a diary Amiry kept during the Israeli invasion of Ramallah in March 2002, when her feisty 92-year-old mother-in-law came to live with them and we learn how daily chores such as buying food and visiting friends and relatives become Herculean tasks for anyone living in a state of siege. We enter an entirely different dimension of understanding, and begin to comprehend some of the most obvious, impossible realities of what life under occupation and curfew actually means.

With a wickedly sharp ear for dialogue, and an eye for telling details of human behaviour, Suad Amiry has written a wonderful, very funny and laughter inducing book, about the absurdity (and agony) of life in the Occupied Territories.
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Author:Rhodes, Fred
Publication:The Middle East
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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