Name of Book: The Book of Disappearance
Author: Ibitisam Azem
First Edition Year:2019
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
For her novel The Book of Disappearance, Azem takes an interesting hypothesis: what if Israelis woke up one day to discover that all the Palestinians had disappeared?
Instead of instant celebration, what follows in her novel is initial chaos with no one left to drive the buses, deliver the newspapers or run the cafes. Palestinian prisoners are also no longer in their cells.
Azem’s narrative is a work of fantasy, but one which features historical context in the form of stories from 1948, as told to one of the protagonists by his grandmothers, which he then records in a notebook.
This record eventually lands in the hands of his Israeli friend and neighbour who then makes initially hesitant steps at usurping his disappeared friend’s home.
The Palestinians may be gone, and their houses claimed, one by one, by those who remain – but what The Book of Disappearance leaves the reader with is a sense of palpable eeriness of the ghosts and memories which do not go away.