Let It Be Morning

Sayed Kashua

translated from the Hebrew by Miriam Schlesinger
Atlantic Books 2004
A book review by Danny Yee © 2014 https://dannyreviews.com/
The narrator of Let It Be Morning is an Arab Israeli journalist who has left the city, with his wife and infant daughter, to return to his home village, to a newly-built house next to his parents. When the village is sealed off by the army and no one is allowed in or out, with communications and power cut off, it is only a few days before the sewage backs up and the food and water start to run out...

There's not much of a central plot here, with this framing and its eventual explanation and resolution, while intriguing, driven entirely by external geopolitics and completely unaffected by anything the characters do. There is plenty of "local" narrative in individual incidents, however, from a mundane sealing-off of the sewer pipes to a dramatic facing down of a mob after food. There are also flashbacks to the narrator's childhood and ruminations on his precarious employment as an Arab working for a Hebrew newspaper (Kashua's own situation, since he writes a column for Haaretz).

Let It Be Morning conveys something of the broader situation of Israeli Arabs as an unwanted minority and touches on local politics, but is mostly a study of an individual in his family and community setting, centred on personal relationships and neighbourhood ties. It was written and is set a decade or so ago, but the broad context doesn't seem to have changed that much and the framing plot remains perfectly compelling. And Kashua achieves all this with a spare but effective mix of dialogue, interior monologue, and description, making for an unexpectedly engaging novel.

September 2014

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%T Let It Be Morning
%A Kashua, Sayed
%M Hebrew
%F Schlesinger, Miriam
%I Atlantic Books
%D 2004
%O paperback
%G ISBN-13 9781843545439
%P 271pp