Isabella Hammad in conversation
Zadie Smith and Jonathan Safran Foer are among the writers praising the ambitious debut of Isabella Hammad, The Parisian. The novel, inspired by Hammad’s own family history, follows the young Palestinian Midhat Kamel, travelling from Nablus to France to study medicine just as the Ottoman Empire is crumbling and the first world war begins. When Kamel later returns to his home city, both he and it have been transformed.
An epic, grand love story, the novel also explores borders and migrations, racism and class as well as the relationship between Europe, the Middle East and the Palestinians in the crucial first half of the 20th century.