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The Disinherited

Ibrahim Fawal

NewSouth Books
$28.95 hardcover
6 x 9  
300 pages
October 2012

In this sequel to Ibrahim Fawal’s On the Hills of God, the young Palestinian Yousif Safi searches through Jordan for Salwa, his bride, from whom he was separated during their forced exodus after the catastrophe (nakba) of 1948. Beside himself with anxiety for Salwa, Yousif joins his countrymen in trying to exist amidst the squalor of refugee camps while waiting to be restored to their homeland. Why, they ask, did this tragedy befall their country and its people? How could foreigners whose ancestors had not set foot in Palestine for centuries come back and claim as theirs homes they had not built and orchards they had not cultivated? Why had the holy land been turned into a battleground? Arabs, Christians, and Jews had lived in harmony there for millennia, and the Palestinians had never invaded any of their neighbors. And now they were a people without a land.

As weeks turn to months and months to years, Palestinians’ hopes dim, yet Yousif does find his beloved Salwa, and they joyfully begin their new life together. The Disinherited follows the young couple as expatriate workers in Kuwait, then as students in Cairo. Always they are working and organizing, joining with their fellows to develop schools, newspapers, and increasingly militant organizations. Their dream is to unite the Palestinian people around the world, and to regain their homeland. In measured, epic storytelling, Fawal masterfully weaves a second chapter in the Palestinian diaspora.


"Ibrahim Fawal's novel The Disinherited...connects readers to the human dimension of the largest ethnic cleansing post-World War II. It is a story of love and tragedy that will touch many hearts and minds." —Mazin Qumsiyeh, Bethlehem and Bizreit Universities, author of Sharing the Land of Canaan and Popular Resistance in Palenstine
“Fawal gives voice to the countless Palestinians who have lost homes, families, and ways of life because of political upheavals that continue today. . . . Fawal writes with such immediacy and fervor that a reader will easily entertain . . . the hope that peace between Zionists and Palestinians is possible. In a novel that appeals to our common humanity, Fawal begs us to find within ourselves the capability to treat one another with a compassion transcending religious dogma and political cant.” —Booklist
“Ishmael Reed has called Fawal’s book monumental, and he’s got a point.” —Library Journal
"With his customary narrative skill, Ibrahim Fawal continues to weave the fascinating account of his Palestinian hero, Yousif, his family, his friends, and his rivals, as they engage in an often bitter struggle for sheer survival in the post-1948 era. Fawal's narrative places the reader directly into the Palestinian experience." —Roger Allen, Professor Emeritus of Arabic and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania
"No matter the side you find yourself on the great Middle East divide, read Ibrahim Fawal's novel The Disinherited. You will leave politics in the dust of time. You will take up the lives of Yousif Safi and his beloved Salwa in the aftermath of a lost war and a lost generation, but not a lost belief in their destiny. Fawal's scenes of Jordan and Cairo escape the printed page into the living breaths of his people. It's not a read. It's a happening." —John Logue, author of Life at Southern Living: A Sort of Memoir