A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy (Hardcover)

A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy By Nathan Thrall Cover Image
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Immersive and gripping, an intimate story of a deadly accident outside Jerusalem that unravels a tangle of lives, loves, enmities, and histories over the course of one revealing, heartbreaking day.

Five-year-old Milad Salama is excited for a school trip to a theme park on the outskirts of Jerusalem. On the way, his bus collides with a semitrailer. His father, Abed, gets word of the crash and rushes to the site. The scene is chaos—the children have been taken to different hospitals in Jerusalem and the West Bank; some are missing, others cannot be identified. Abed sets off on an odyssey to learn Milad’s fate. It is every parent’s worst nightmare, but for Abed it is compounded by the maze of physical, emotional, and bureaucratic obstacles he must navigate because he is Palestinian. He is on the wrong side of the separation wall, holds the wrong ID to pass the military checkpoints, and has the wrong papers to enter the city of Jerusalem. Abed’s quest to find Milad is interwoven with the stories of a cast of Jewish and Palestinian characters whose lives and histories unexpectedly converge.

In A Day in the Life of Abed Salama Nathan Thrall—hailed for his “severe allergy to conventional wisdom” (Time)—offers an indelibly human portrait of the struggle over Israel/Palestine and a new understanding of the tragic history and reality of one of the most contested places on earth.

About the Author

Nathan Thrall is the author of The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine. His essays, reviews, and reported features have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, the London Review of Books, and The New York Review of Books, and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He spent a decade at the International Crisis Group, where he was director of the Arab-Israeli Project, and has taught at Bard College. Originally from California, he lives in Jerusalem.

Praise For…

"I know of no other writing on Israel and Palestine that reaches this depth of perception and understanding... One could read the book as a précis of modern Palestinian history embedded in the personal memories of many individuals, each of them drawn in stark, telling detail. To get to know them even a little is a rare gift, far more useful than the many standard, distanced histories of Palestine."
—David Shulman, New York Review of Books

"Heartwrenching... with rare political insight."
—Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens

"Nathan Thrall’s book made me walk a lot. I found myself pacing around between chapters, paragraphs and sometimes even sentences just in order to be able to absorb the brutality, the pathos, the steely tenderness, and the sheer spectacle of the cunning and complex ways in which a state can hammer down a people and yet earn the applause and adulation of the civilized world for its actions.”
—Arundhati Roy, Booker Prizewinning author of My Seditious Heart

“It is hard to think of another book that gives such a poignant, deeply human face to the ongoing tragedy of Palestine. Thrall’s evocation of both a terrible crisis and the daily humiliations of life under occupation is nothing short of heartbreaking.”
—Adam Hochschild, National Book Award finalist and author of American Midnight

“This brilliant and heartbreaking book is a masterpiece. It reads like a novel, yet is all sadly true. I finished it in tears."
James Rebanks, New York Times bestselling author of Pastoral Song

"In this luminous story of Palestinians striving to live under Israeli rule, there is much cruelty. But there is also great love—of parents for their children, of lovers for their beloved, and of people for their home. This book is transformative."
—André Aciman, author of Out of Egypt and Call Me By Your Name

"A brilliant and heart-wrenching book that captures the daily tragedy of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation better than any other I have read. An outstanding achievement and a must read."
—Eugene Rogan, author of The Fall of the Ottomans

"Propels the reader across a geography that is partitioned behind walls and into enclaves, revealing in visceral, human detail what Israeli subjugation means, and how it shapes the most intimate corners of the Palestinian experience. With empathy and grace, Thrall transforms this incomprehensible, avoidable loss into an ode to a father's love."
—Tareq Baconi, author of Containing Hamas

"This impressive book shows us how everything in these Palestinians’ daily lives—from the mundane to the catastrophic—has been controlled, contained, and shaped under Israeli rule. Amid this struggle to survive, Nathan Thrall documents the best and worst of humanity: pride, bravery, love, stupidity, callousness and cruelty."
—Sally Hayden, author of The Fourth Time We Drowned

“A towering achievement. I've not read anything like it. Thrall takes the bureaucracy and infrastructure of apartheid and uses them to tell a painfully emotional, personal story.”
—Omar Robert Hamilton, author of The City Always Wins

"Thrall offers a unique window onto the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this captivating profile of Abed Salama, a Palestinian phone company worker and political activist, on the day when his five-year-old son, Milad, was ... in a traffic accident near Jerusalem ... It's a heart-wrenching portrait of an unequal society."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Riveting... An eye-opening and empathetic analysis of a profoundly personal tragedy."
Library Journal (starred review)

“Thrall’s taut, journalistic account of Abed Salama’s daylong search to discover what has become of his son is an agonizing, infuriating, heartbreaking indictment of Israel’s occupation. …An unforgettable and devastating symphony of pain and outrage and a demand for responsibility.”
Booklist (starred review)

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250854971
ISBN-10: 1250854970
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English