by Adina Hoffman - £16.99 Yale University Press (2010)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780300164275 | ISBN 10: 0300164270
Beautifully written, and composed with a novelist's eye for detail, this book tells the story of an exceptional man and the culture from which he emerged.
Taha Muhammad Ali was born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriyya and was forced to flee during the war in 1948. He traveled on foot to Lebanon and returned a year later to find his village destroyed. An autodidact, he has since run a souvenir shop in Nazareth, at the same time evolving into what one leading American critic has dubbed 'perhaps the most accessible and delightful poet alive today'.
As it places Muhammad Ali's life in the context of the lives of his predecessors and peers, My Happiness offers a sweeping depiction of a charged and fateful epoch. It is a work that Arabic scholar Michael Sells describes as 'among the five 'must read' books on the Israel-Palestine tragedy'. In an era when talk of the 'Clash of Civilizations' dominates, this biography offers something else entirely: a view of the people and culture of the Middle East that is rich, nuanced, and above all else, deeply human.
(Price & availability last checked: December 2018)