Where the Bird Disappeared


Author: Ghassan Zaqtan
Translated by Samuel Wilder

9780857425423 | HB | pp. 110 | 2018 | Seagull Books

This is a lyrical,heartbreaking and profound novel, rooted in Palestine, about what it meant for the first wave of inhabitants of Palestine to go into exile and leave their land.

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This lyrical novel, set in the surroundings of the Palestinian village of Zakariyya, weaves a narrative rich in sensory detail yet troubled by the porousness of memory. It tells the story of the relationship between two figures of deep mythical resonance in the region, Yahya and Zakariyya, figures who live in the present but bear the names—and many traits—of two saints. Ranging from today back to pre-1948 Palestine, the book presents both a compelling portrait of a contemporary village and a sacred geography that lies beyond and beneath the present state of the world. Sensual, rich in allusion, yet at the same time focused on the struggles of today, Where the Bird Disappeared is a powerful novel of both connection and dispossession.

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Ghassan Zaqtan
Translator: Samuel Wilder







Year of Publication:



Seagull Books





Country of Origin:


About the Contributors

Ghassan Zaqtan is a Palestinian poet, novelist, and editor. He was born near Bethlehem and has lived in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Tunisia. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, a novel, and a play.

Samuel Wilder is a translator of Arabic literature, a writer, and a student of comparative poetics. Since 2006, he has lived and worked as a literary translator in Cairo and Beirut, and pursued academic work in London and Cambridge.


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