The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine

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From an award-winning journalist, a brave and necessary immersion into the everyday struggles of Palestinian life 

Over the past three years, American writer Ben Ehrenreich has been traveling to and living in the West Bank, staying with Palestinian families in its largest cities and its smallest villages. Along the way he has written major stories for American outlets, including a remarkable New York Times Magazine cover story. Now comes the powerful new work that has always been his ultimate goal, The Way to the Spring.

We are familiar with brave journalists who travel to bleak or war-torn places on a mission to listen and understand, to gather the stories of people suffering from extremes of oppression and want: Katherine Boo, Ryszard Kapuściński, Ted Conover, and Philip Gourevitch among them. Palestine is, by any measure, whatever one's politics, one such place. Ruled by the Israeli military, set upon and harassed constantly by Israeli settlers who admit unapologetically to wanting to drive them from the land, forced to negotiate an ever more elaborate and more suffocating series of fences, checkpoints, and barriers that have sundered home from field, home from home, this is a population whose living conditions are unique, and indeed hard to imagine. In a great act of bravery, empathy and understanding, Ben Ehrenreich, by placing us in the footsteps of ordinary Palestinians and telling their story with surpassing literary power and grace, makes it impossible for us to turn away.
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About the author

Ben Ehrenreich is the author of two novels, Ether and The Suitors. His writing has appeared in Harper'sThe New York Times Magazine, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. A recipient of the National Magazine Award, Ehrenreich lives in Los Angeles.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Jun 14, 2016
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9780698148192
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / Israel & Palestine
Political Science / World / Middle Eastern
Religion / Religion, Politics & State
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A bearded man in a badly soiled suit known only as The Stranger wanders an apocalyptic landscape on the fringes of a dying metropolis, looking for a way to "get back on top." Thwarted and rejected at every turn by old friends and strangers alike—even by the author of this novel, whom he visits repeatedly in unsuccessful attempts to determine his own narrative—his impotence and rage are expressed in acts of seemingly senseless violence. The various characters he encounters on his journey—a pack of sadistic boys, skinheads who beat him senseless, a deaf-mute woman who tries to heal him, a sidewalk preacher, and a deranged man who identifies him as The One—avoid or abuse him, or attempt to follow him.

Entertaining, disturbing, and wildly intelligent, written with sinister humor and great compassion, Ether reflects on the possibilities and consequences of forgiveness, the problems of faith, and the trials of creation.

"Like a David Lynch movie transcribed by Pierre Reverdy, it's a brilliant and unforgettable book, written somewhere between sleeping and waking." — Chris Kraus, author of Torpor

"This is an intense, intelligent novel that paints a vivid picture of an America that most of us refuse to see, are afraid to see. This is real art." — Percival Everett, author of I Am Not Sidney Poitier

"A book that's both pure as snow and filthy as dirty, with the lovely detachment of ice. Like Beckett, Ehrenreich has the talent of being particular and general at once, and thus steps outisde of time" — Lydia Millet, Pulizer Prize finalist for Love in Infant Monkeys

"Ether is a dark and powerful work, with disturbing metaphysical overtones. Ben Ehrenreich is a gathering power in the literary land." — John Banville, author of The Infinities

"Ben Ehenreich transforms the brutal human and urban blight into a landscape of cosmic battle. Ether is a dark, complex, richly written, beautiful novel. It is a rarity in American fiction today." — Frederic Tuten, author of Self Portraits: Fictions

"Ether, perhaps even more than his previous novel, The Suitors, shows Ben Ehrenreich unafraid of storytelling that is terrifically bold and sly." — Sesshu Foster, author of World Ball Notebook

Ben Ehrenreich is an award-winning journalist and fiction writer. Ether is his second novel.

Praise for Ben Ehrenreich's first novel The Suitors:

"Smart and postmodern in a puckish, Calvino-like sense. . . . Ehrenreich writes with an ease and pure line-by-line skill that's rare."—The New York Times Book Review

"Ehrenreich blends Tom Robbins' sly humor with Steve Erickson's bubbling sense of the subconscious and Voltaire's irreverent twists of plot."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Ehrenreich shows the stirrings of an original talent."—Publishers Weekly

"Brilliant, and at the same time moving. It's a relief to know that literature exists yet."—Juan Goytisolo

WINNER OF THE 2016 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION

“A Best Book of 2015”—The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and Kirkus Reviews

In a thrilling dramatic narrative, awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents.
 
   When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented character-driven account of the rise of ISIS, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq.
   Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, U.S. officials inadvertently spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi’s hideout in 2006.
   His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and as the U.S. largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi’s dream of an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate.
   Drawing on unique high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today’s most dangerous extremist threat.


From the Hardcover edition.
“Vital” –The New York Times Book Review

“Provocative…[Hazleton] paddles the river of doubt with energy and exuberance.” –The Seattle Times

A widely admired writer on religion celebrates agnosticism as the most vibrant, engaging—and ultimately the most honest—stance toward the mysteries of existence.

One in four Americans reject any affiliation with organized religion, and nearly half of those under thirty describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” But as the airwaves resound with the haranguing of preachers and pundits, who speaks for the millions who find no joy in whittling the wonder of existence to a simple yes/no choice?

Lesley Hazleton does. In this provocative, brilliant book, she gives voice to the case for agnosticism, breaks it free of its stereotypes as watered-down atheism or amorphous “seeking,” and celebrates it as a reasoned, revealing, and sustaining stance toward life. Stepping over the lines imposed by rigid conviction, she draws on philosophy, theology, psychology, science, and more to explore, with curiosity and passion, the vital role of mystery in a deceptively information-rich world; to ask what we mean by the search for meaning; to invoke the humbling yet elating perspective of infinity; to challenge received ideas about death; and to reconsider what “the soul” might be. Inspired and inspiring, Agnostic recasts the question of belief not as a problem to be solved but as an invitation to an ongoing, open-ended adventure of the mind.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • The acclaimed memoir about fathers and sons, a legacy of loss, and, ultimately, healing—one of The New York Times Book Review’s ten best books of the year, winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

When Hisham Matar was a nineteen-year-old university student in England, his father went missing under mysterious circumstances. Hisham would never see him again, but he never gave up hope that his father might still be alive. Twenty-two years later, he returned to his native Libya in search of the truth behind his father’s disappearance. The Return is the story of what he found there.

The Pulitzer Prize citation hailed The Return as “a first-person elegy for home and father.” Transforming his personal quest for answers into a brilliantly told universal tale of hope and resilience, Matar has given us an unforgettable work with a powerful human question at its core: How does one go on living in the face of unthinkable loss?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY 
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Guardian • Financial Times

“A tale of mighty love, loyalty and courage. It simply must be read.”—The Spectator (U.K.)

“Wise and agonizing and thrilling to read.”—Zadie Smith

“[An] eloquent memoir . . . at once a suspenseful detective story about a writer investigating his father’s fate . . . and a son’s efforts to come to terms with his father’s ghost, who has haunted more than half his life by his absence.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“This outstanding book . . . roves back and forth in time with a freedom that conceals the intricate precision of its art.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Truly remarkable . . . a book with a profound faith in the consolations of storytelling . . . a testament to [Matar’s] father, his family and his country.”—The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)

“The Return is a riveting book about love and hope, but it is also a moving meditation on grief and loss. . . . Likely to become a classic.”—Colm Tóibín

“Matar’s evocative writing and his early traumas call to mind Vladimir Nabokov.”—The Washington Post

“Utterly riveting.”—The Boston Globe

“A moving, unflinching memoir of a family torn apart.”—Kazuo Ishiguro, The Guardian

“Beautiful . . . The Return, for all the questions it cannot answer, leaves a deep emotional imprint.”—Newsday

“A masterful memoir, a searing meditation on loss, exile, grief, guilt, belonging, and above all, family. It is, as well, a study of the shaping—and breaking—of the bonds between fathers and sons. . . . This is writing of the highest quality.”—The Sunday Times (U.K.)
A bearded man in a badly soiled suit known only as The Stranger wanders an apocalyptic landscape on the fringes of a dying metropolis, looking for a way to "get back on top." Thwarted and rejected at every turn by old friends and strangers alike—even by the author of this novel, whom he visits repeatedly in unsuccessful attempts to determine his own narrative—his impotence and rage are expressed in acts of seemingly senseless violence. The various characters he encounters on his journey—a pack of sadistic boys, skinheads who beat him senseless, a deaf-mute woman who tries to heal him, a sidewalk preacher, and a deranged man who identifies him as The One—avoid or abuse him, or attempt to follow him.

Entertaining, disturbing, and wildly intelligent, written with sinister humor and great compassion, Ether reflects on the possibilities and consequences of forgiveness, the problems of faith, and the trials of creation.

"Like a David Lynch movie transcribed by Pierre Reverdy, it's a brilliant and unforgettable book, written somewhere between sleeping and waking." — Chris Kraus, author of Torpor

"This is an intense, intelligent novel that paints a vivid picture of an America that most of us refuse to see, are afraid to see. This is real art." — Percival Everett, author of I Am Not Sidney Poitier

"A book that's both pure as snow and filthy as dirty, with the lovely detachment of ice. Like Beckett, Ehrenreich has the talent of being particular and general at once, and thus steps outisde of time" — Lydia Millet, Pulizer Prize finalist for Love in Infant Monkeys

"Ether is a dark and powerful work, with disturbing metaphysical overtones. Ben Ehrenreich is a gathering power in the literary land." — John Banville, author of The Infinities

"Ben Ehenreich transforms the brutal human and urban blight into a landscape of cosmic battle. Ether is a dark, complex, richly written, beautiful novel. It is a rarity in American fiction today." — Frederic Tuten, author of Self Portraits: Fictions

"Ether, perhaps even more than his previous novel, The Suitors, shows Ben Ehrenreich unafraid of storytelling that is terrifically bold and sly." — Sesshu Foster, author of World Ball Notebook

Ben Ehrenreich is an award-winning journalist and fiction writer. Ether is his second novel.

Praise for Ben Ehrenreich's first novel The Suitors:

"Smart and postmodern in a puckish, Calvino-like sense. . . . Ehrenreich writes with an ease and pure line-by-line skill that's rare."—The New York Times Book Review

"Ehrenreich blends Tom Robbins' sly humor with Steve Erickson's bubbling sense of the subconscious and Voltaire's irreverent twists of plot."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Ehrenreich shows the stirrings of an original talent."—Publishers Weekly

"Brilliant, and at the same time moving. It's a relief to know that literature exists yet."—Juan Goytisolo

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