In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees by Jeff Talarigo
It is late 1948 and days before his wife is to give birth for the first time, Ghassan is approached by two talking jackals threatening that, if he doesn’t paint the signs of the newly named villages and towns, his wife will give birth to a goat. Thus begins the exile to Gaza of Ghassan and his goat.
In the mode of Borges, Calvino and Coetzee, In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees presents linked mytho-poetic tales delving beneath the long Palestinian diaspora; the history of Gaza is told as never before: through the eyes of a night guardian of a talking goat; a carrier pigeon that befriends a young boy who sells photos of martyrs; a refugee who eats books and then recites them word for word; a Palestinian father who sneaks animals into Gaza through a labyrinth of tunnels; a talking sheep who is caged in the Gaza Zoo. These mystical voices echo in the mind of an American stranger as he witnesses the beauty and horror of this ancient, suffering land. In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees is a disquieting allegory of the clash between the powerful and the silenced.
2018 Finalist – Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Award
Jeff Talarigo is the author of two novels: The Pearl Diver and The Ginseng Hunter. From 1990 to 2006, he lived in Gaza twice and in Japan. Talarigo was a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers in 2006-07. Currently living in Oakland, California, Talarigo teaches at Wilkes University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program.
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