Midhat Kamal dreams of his bright future as he travels to Paris during WWI to attend university, in The Parisian. While there the young Palestinian discovers love, loss and the bitter bite of prejudice.
After the war Kamal returns to a Palestine under British rule where he begins to learn his family textile business and start a family. But as political tensions erupt in the region, he can’t help but be swept along in the flow.
Isabella Hammad has a beautiful writing style and has a lot of material to work with in The Parisian (digital galley, Grove Press). Unfortunately the plot moves at a sluggish pace and the story often ebbs. If you have the time, Hammad’s vivid descriptions and wonderful turns of phrase are enough to give this novel a chance.