A Stone in My Hand
This a tender novel, filled with memorable pain and beauty, told in the fictional voice of 11-year-old Maalek, a Palestinian girl in Gaza City during the 1988–1989 intifada, or uprising. Maalek keeps a pigeon named Abdo on her roof, and to him she returns to voice her thoughts as her life devolves in confusion and loss: Her father is killed (ironically, by a Palestinian bus bomb); her brothers join the intifada, with tragic consequences; and throughout, her mother and sisters help Maalek learn to cope. The characters are fully drawn, and Clinton’s writing is sincere and skillful enough that the ironies of her plot buttress a sense of authenticity. The result is a surprisingly sensitive story with an ending as untidy as life itself.