In Stories from Palestine: Narratives of Resilience, Marda Dunsky presents a vivid overview of contemporary Palestinian society in the venues envisioned for a future Palestinian state. Dunsky has interviewed women and men from cities, towns, villages, and refugee camps who are scientists, artists, writers, students, teachers, and entrepreneurs. Using their own words, she illuminates their resourcefulness in navigating agriculture, education, and cultural pursuits in the West Bank; persisting in Jerusalem as a sizable minority in the city; and confronting the challenges and uncertainties of life in the Gaza Strip. Based on her in-depth personal interviews, the narratives weave in quantitative data and historical background drawn from a range of secondary sources that contextualize Palestinian life under occupation.
More than a collection of individual stories, Stories from Palestine presents a broad, crosscut view of the tremendous human potential of this particular society. Narratives that emphasize the human dignity of Palestinians pushing forward under extraordinary circumstances include those of an entrepreneur who markets the yields of Palestinian farmers determined to continue cultivating their land, even as the landscape in which they do so is shrinking; a bookshop owner who stages Palestinian literary events; a professor and medical doctor who aims to improve health in local Palestinian communities; an award-winning primary school teacher who provides her pupils a safe and creative learning environment; and a university student who grew up in a refugee camp, won an international arithmetic competition while in grade school, and went on to pursue a degree in computer engineering.
The book will interest general readers who want to learn about contemporary Palestinian life in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip beyond oft-repeated, media-generated themes of oppression and violence, as well as students and scholars of Israel-Palestine studies, peace studies, journalistic conflict-zone reporting, and narrative writing.