Out of It – A Novel

Out of It by Selma Dabbagh

In 1973, Mahmoud Darwish wrote,

“Gaza has not mastered the orator’s art. Gaza does not have a throat. The pores of her skin speak in sweat, blood and fire.”  – Journal of an Ordinary Grief

In its review of the novel Out of It, the Egyptian Independent said author Selma Dabbagh’s “portrayal of Gaza is, in some ways, not so different from the gaping wound Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish presents.”

The wound still hasn’t healed.  In fact it has turned septic and widened as now five generations sit within its weeping gap.  But 30 years later, Gaza has found an orator.

British-Palestinian, Dabbagh is like one of the “PLO Brats” she created;  the English-speaking, Diaspora who carry Holy Land DNA in their blood.  The granddaughter of a politically active Palestinian, Dabbagh grew up outside Gaza where her story takes place; yet she carries the memories of place and of the wounds her father sustained in a 1948 Jaffa attack.  Dabbagh’s intelligent, urbane characters promise to give readers an alternative view of the Palestinian OTHER.

I haven’t gotten a copy of the book – yet.  But I am excited to see my friend, fellow bookclub member and former Bahrain resident return to the island to talk about her debut novel.

It wasn’t so long ago when conversations about our toddlers were interspersed with her laments about the difficulty of finding the creative space to finish her book.  But her acclaimed talent and perseverance prevailed against potty-training and garden birthday parties with bouncy castles.

In the land of unexpected coincidences, Selma, featured on the cover of this week’s GulfWeekly, tells of her Bahraini good luck when we met Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif  at a Shaikh Ebrahim Center lecture in 2008.  In 2011, the stars finally aligned and international publisher Bloomsbury UK took on Out of It.

Selma Dabbagh was at the 2012 Dubai Literary Festival.  It was a great opportunity to meet this engaged, articulate and passionate Palestinian.

The US version will be published in August 2012 and an Arabic translation is expected in December 2012.  The WORDS bookstore and cafe has her book in stock.

To get to WORDS take the exit at the Burgerland roundabout towards Budaiya.  WORDS is located in the Palms Square shopping center located between the third roundabout and the fourth roundabout (Al Osra) on the Budaiya Highway. Phone number is 17 690 790.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LmbK
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 11:18:22

    Wish I could go as I am interested to hear her Palestinian voice (and now I know where the Burgerland roundabout is!) though I wonder what might be different in “the US version”…?


  2. ssforth
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 16:37:38

    Good news for folks in the US: The Kindle edition is available for download NOW! (Though I really prefer holding an actual book in my hands.)


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