Wild Thorns

Wild Thorns

New introduction by Mohammed Hanif

Translated by Trevor LeGassick and Elizabeth Fernea

N/A August 2023 Paperback 272pp

About the Book

A young Palestinian named Usama returns to his homeland after several years working in the Gulf. Now an operative in the resistance movement, his mission is to blow up buses transporting Palestinian workers into Israel.

But Palestine and its people are not as Usama remembered them. He is shocked to discover that many of his fellow countrymen have adjusted to life under military control. Despite mounting unease, Usama sets out to accomplish his objective … with disastrous consequences.

First published in Palestine in 1976, Wild Thorns was the first Arab novel to offer a glimpse of everyday life under Israeli occupation. With uncompromising honesty, Khalifeh pleads elegantly for survival in the face of oppression.

About the Author

Sahar Khalifeh was born in Nablus in 1941. She entered into a traditional arranged marriage at eighteen, and after thirteen years left her husband and began writing. Her first novel was confiscated by Israeli authorities; the second was published in Cairo. She taught at the University of Iowa and at Palestine’s Bir Zeit University, and founded the Women's Affairs Centres in Nablus, Gaza City and Amman. Wild Thorns (Saqi Books) is her third novel.


‘An impressive narrative of life in the West Bank in which simple profundities are asserted powerfully and poetically.’
Morning Star

‘We highly recommend this book which has already become famous and much discussed in Palestinian and Arab circles.’

‘Sahar Khalifeh is a pioneer in the evolution of the Arabic novel … The depth and breadth of her literary creations are unparalleled by any living Arabic novelist.’
World Literature Today

‘Wild Thorns is tight, linear, and, unlike so much of modern fiction with a lower-case “f,” it manages to marry two literary forces that were never meant to oppose each other: irony and plot.’
Palestine Chronicle