Power Born of Dreams: My Story is Palestine by Mohammad Sabaaneh

This entry is part 4 of 23 in the series 2023 Reads

As always, I’m posting about books I’ve read, and it’s at something of a delay. I read this book early in January, but found myself digesting it slowly and thinking about it. Finally, I’m writing (briefly) about it. 

Power Born of Dreams is a small graphic novel I found at the local library when looking for something else. It’s a challenging read: the author describes his own experience of as a Palestinian political prisoner in Israeli custody, but he also tells others’ stories.

A recurring motif in the story, and one that is at once grounding but also fairytale-like, is the use of birds as a chorus who transmit and comment on the stories that Sabaaneh relates. It’s a detail that somehow pulled me into the book, and also had me looking at birds in the trees around me with a certain haunted sense of memory of these tales for days afterward. 

These stories are heartbreaking and the artwork—which is done in linocut prints—just elevates their effect on the reader. The book is worthwhile and urgent reading, but be ready to have your heart crushed by it. 


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