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Under the Gaze of Angels: Stories

Palestine, Israel, and One Family’s Story of Home

By Said Habib

Published by Interlink Books, an imprint of Interlink Publishing, 2021

Paperback, 192 pages, US$15.00

Available from the Educational Bookshop, www.interlinkbooks.com, www.bookshop.org, Amazon, and other online booksellers.

Under the Gaze of Angels offers treasured views of family and neighborhood life, native to the Galilee, in the years leading up to and following the upheavals of 1948. This collection of four stories, told with simplicity and warmth, includes three that are set during the time of British mandate rule: “Zuha and the Book Vendor,” “The English Gramophone,” and “Yildiz the Turkish Woman.” The fourth – the book’s title work – is a remembrance that travels from childhood to elder years, pursued by loss. Imagined or recalled in exile, these vivid, evocative mementos quietly disarm the violence that surrounds them, restoring a stolen past to memory under the gaze of angels.

The book was hailed by the Midwest Book Review as “Impressive … consistently entertaining, remarkably original, and compelling short story collection … Under the Gaze of Angels is simply outstanding….” The New Arab, in a recent review, noted: “Said Habib’s debut text is an enchanting retrospection of Palestinians lives, and how previously mundane realities were then impacted by political events. It is a poignant reminder of the power of memory and Palestinian existence as resistance … Habib’s stories are a delicate balance between the political and the personal, where the latter is unraveled in anecdotes and narratives that bring Palestinian lives closer to the reader … [His] prose is detailed and the stories are touching, providing an insight into Palestinian lives … Bringing daily life experiences closer to non-Palestinians makes the Palestinian experience more tangible and vivid, for the reader to identify with the feelings, if not the experience, of being Palestinian.”*

Said Habib is a Toronto-based writer of Palestinian descent. Under the Gaze of Angels is his first published work.

*To read the full review please visit The New Arab at https://english.alaraby.co.uk/features/under-gaze-angels-palestine-mandate-1967.

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