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In this masterful debut novel, Plimpton Prize winner Isabella Hammad delivers a sweeping, brilliantly crafted portrait of a young man's coming-of-age alongside the embattled development of a nation.Midhat Kamal is the son of a wealthy textile merchant from Nablus, a town in Ottoman Palestine. In 1914 he leaves to study medicine in France, and falls in love. A dreamer, a romantic, an aesthete -- when he returns to Nablus to find it under British rule, and the entire region erupting with nationalist fervor, he must find a way to cope with his conflicting loyalties and the expectations of his community. The story of Midhat's life develops alongside the idea of a nation, as he and those close to him confront what it means to strive for independence in a world that seems on the verge of falling apart.

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