"Fast Times in Palestine" is Olson s powerful, deeply moving account of life in Palestine both the daily events that are universal to us all (house parties, concerts, barbecues, and weddings) as well as the violence, trauma, and political tensions that are particular to the country. From idyllic olive groves to Palestinian beer gardens, from Passover in Tel Aviv to Ramadan in a Hamas village, readers will find Olson s narrative both suspenseful and discerning. Her irresistible story offers a multi-faceted understanding of the Palestinian perspective on the IsraelPalestine conflict, filling a gap in the West s understanding of the difficult relationship between the two nations.
At turns funny, shocking, and galvanizing, "Fast Times in Palestine" is a gripping narrative that challenges our ways of thinking not only about the Middle East, but about human nature, cultural identity, and our place in the world.
- ISBN-13: 9781580054829
- ISBN-10: 158005482X
- Publisher: Seal Press (CA)
- Publish Date: March 2013
- Page Count: 303
- Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-02-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Olson didn't come to the Middle East from Eastern Oklahoma directly—she earned a degree from Stanford first—but she still had little world experience when, "green and wide-eyed, wandered into the Holy Land, an empty vessel." Her innocence, if partly an affectation, helps her navigate the surreal and morally ambiguous rules of the Occupied Territories with relish and warmth for the people she meets. As she travels throughout Israel and Palestine, she adopts as her own the travails and daily rhythms of her hosts. The political and ethical conclusions she draws are sometimes prosaic, but her emotional response to the unending conflict and subsequent difficulties is genuine. More than a travelogue or a polemic, the book is a coming-of-age story, as Olson discovers her voice by directly confronting the challenges of living in a state of institutionalized paradox. She finds a place for herself in Palestinian society, becoming an advisor to Mustafa Barghouthi, the long shot presidential candidate. Engaging and easy to read, this is a fascinating memoir of adaptation and acculturation, and of the unexpected bonds connecting disparate cultures. (Mar.)