Book Review: A Thousand Farewells by Nahlah Ayed

Before I give my comments on the book I have a few general comments* to make. Nahlah Ayed is a Canadian reporter for CBC, which is what drew me to the book. It is a cool feeling when you see someone on the news reporting from around the world and can go "Hey I read her book!", definitely a fan-girl type moment. This book is also the recipient of the Governor Generals Literacy Award. It also gives some insight into countries that were very much in the news for a period of time.

On to the book...

Ms. Ayed starts off by giving the reader insight to her life in Winnipeg, how her parents moved to Canada and their way of life while living in Canada. She writes about how her parents and siblings packed up their belongings and moved from a comfortable Canadian life to the Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan. 

You get to read a first hand account of how a refugee camp differs so much from life in Canada and how her own family and their way of life changed as well. She talks about how her mother used to sing and dance around the house but that the part of her mother that seemed so carefree almost disappeared in the refugee camp where conservative family members were watching to make sure they did not disrupt family values.

After a few years of living in Jordan the family decided to move back to Canada, where Ayed grew up and went to University for Journalism. Ayed once again finds herself back in the Middle East area and even living there for some time as a CBC correspondent. She went to Iraq during the war, lived in Beruit and was present in Egypt during protests. 

It is a novel that will present you with a new insight into a way of life that seems so far away to most of us. It provides a first hand glance at how quickly the world can change and what is like to see those changes in person. Being an International Relations major, concentrating in Middle East Politics, I found this book very interesting, however like I mentioned this would be a great book for anyone interested in this part of the world and about Palestinian Refugee culture.

Happy Reading!

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