Last evening I received a package all the way from Rome. It contained two beautifully illustrated books and one of them, the one on the right was a book I'd wanted forever.
The book on the left, Italia Z is an alphabet book where each letter gives a commentary about the Italians and their society. But as you turn the pages you can see from the illustrations that it doesn’t necessarily seem to be the Italians that the pictures comment upon –
And then below, the extraordinary story The Strangers -
this is a story created out of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the land they inhabit. As always with this author’s stories, the text is minimal, it says only what it should and it is his powerful images which take over the story and capture our mind and hearts creating a shift in perspective in a way in which only great books can. You are never quite the same person you were after you close this book.
Here are some of the pages -
It was a land of sand and stones and not much else, but it was home to a people.
On that land they tended their goats
and waited for the olives to ripen,
and at at night the old ones
told their stories to the youngso that they would remember who they were.
One day, out of a storm that was raging over the horizon,
the strangers appeared.
When the war had ended,
the strangers dug their first grave in their new land
and then they knelt and prayed to their God
and hoisted their flagand began to till the sand and the stones.
Of the people, those who had not died fled...
in a land that was not theirs,
they went on with their lives, not as always
but as good as they could.
In the meantime the strangers prospered.
So they (the people) rose up in anger
The revenge was swift
But the wall was not content with protecting the strangers.
It began to grow.
And it grew
For those of you who are interested and who want to hear the author talking about this story, you can hear it over
here > at 44:16
here > at 44:16
Well, those are some pages from the two books I received from Rome, but there is one more thing that arrived with them,the icing on the cake, these drawings :)