A masterful debut novel by Plimpton Prize winner Isabella Hammad, The Parisian
illuminates a pivotal period of Palestinian history through the journey and romances of one young man, from his studies in France during World War I to his return to Palestine at the dawn of its battle for independence.
Midhat Kamal is the son of a wealthy textile merchant from Nablus, a town in Ottoman Palestine. A dreamer, a romantic, an aesthete, in 1914 he leaves to study medicine in France, and falls in love. When Midhat returns to Nablus to find it under British rule, and the entire region erupting with nationalist fervor, he must find a way to cope with his conflicting loyalties and the expectations of his community. The story of Midhat's life develops alongside the idea of a nation, as he and those close to him confront what it means to strive for independence in a world that seems on the verge of falling apart.
Against a landscape of political change that continues to define the Middle East, The Parisian
explores questions of power and identity, enduring love, and the uncanny ability of the past to disrupt the present. Lush and immersive, and devastating in its power, The Parisian
is an elegant, richly-imagined debut from a dazzling new voice in fiction.
Isabella Hammad was born in London. Her writing has appeared in Conjunctions, The Paris Review, The New York Times and elsewhere. She was awarded the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction and a 2019 O. Henry Prize. Her first novel The Parisian (2019) won a Palestine Book Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Betty Trask Award from the Society of Authors in the UK. She was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree, and has received literary fellowships from MacDowell and the Lannan Foundation. She is currently a fellow at the Columbia University Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris.