The quest for his great-uncle Najib Nassar, an Ottoman journalist – the details of his life, and the route of his great escape from occupied Palestine – consumed award-winning writer Raja Shehadeh for two years. As he traces Najib’s footsteps, he discovers that today it would be impossible to flee the cage that Palestine has become. A Rift in Time is a family memoir written in luminescent prose, but it is also a reflection on how Palestine – in particular the disputed Jordan Rift Valley – has been transformed. Most of Palestine’s history and that of its people is buried deep in the ground: whole villages have disappeared and names have been erased from the map. Yet by seeing the bigger picture of the landscape and the unending struggle for freedom as Shehadeh does, it is still possible to look towards a better future, free from Israeli or Ottoman oppression.
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