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Enter Ghost

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Enter Ghost

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Enter Ghost 

by Isabella Hammad 

“Isabella Hammad is a master of subtle nuance.” ― New York Times

After years away from her family’s homeland, and reeling from a disastrous love affair, actress Sonia Nasir returns to Haifa to visit her older sister Haneen. This is her first trip back since the second intifada and the deaths of their grandparents: while Haneen made a life here commuting to Tel Aviv to teach at the university, Sonia remained in London to focus on her acting career and now dissolute marriage. On her return, she finds her relationship to Palestine is fragile, both bone-deep and new.

At Haneen’s, Sonia meets the charismatic and candid Mariam, a local director, and finds herself roped into a production of Hamlet in the West Bank. Sonia is soon rehearsing Gertude’s lines in Classical Arabic and spending more time in Ramallah than Haifa, along with a dedicated group of men from all over historic Palestine who, in spite of competing egos and priorities, each want to bring Shakespeare to that side of the wall. As opening night draws closer it becomes clear just how many violent obstacles stand before a troupe of Palestinian actors. Amidst it all, the life Sonia once knew starts to give way to the daunting, exhilarating possibility of finding a new self in her ancestral home.

A stunning rendering of present-day Palestine, Enter Ghost is a story of diaspora, displacement, and the connection to be found in family and shared resistance. Timely, thoughtful, and passionate, Isabella Hammad’s highly anticipated second novel is an exquisite feat, an unforgettable story of artistry under occupation.


Editorial Reviews


New York Times Editor's Choice

"Terrific… Enter Ghost though contemporary, is thoroughly infused with Palestine’s past — and thoroughly haunted by Sonia’s. Hammad, who is both a delicate writer and an exact one, intertwines the two, taking care to give Sonia as many personal ghosts as she does historical ones....Indeed, the novel seems to argue, real growth and connection, both political and personal, cannot begin until everyone’s ghosts have emerged from hiding. Art is, if nothing else, a powerful tool for coaxing them out." — New York Times Book Review

“[Hammad] is at once able to trace broad social and historical terrains without losing her grasp of particulars, giving a surgical finesse to her writing about the human personality. Her style is often labeled ‘exquisite.’ These skills put her in the company of other postcolonial literary novelists such as Ahdaf Soueif and Abraham Verghese.” — Washington Post

“Assured and formidable.” — Wall Street Journal

“Hammad’s prose is just as exquisite and wise as her main character.” — Bustle

“[Hammad is] a calm and vital storyteller, a writer of real rhythmic grace.” — Ali Smith, The Guardian

“Magnificent, deeply imagined…a thought-provoking, engrossing story about the connections to be found in art, politics and family life.” —The Times (UK)

Enter Ghost is a novel to savour rather than steam through — not least because it feels completely different to anything else being written right now in English, a heartfelt meditation on the relationship between art and politics. The story unfurls with a slow delicacy and Hammad sustains tension without resorting to cheap suspense… When you surrender to her writing, everything else falls away.” — Sunday Times (UK)

Enter Ghost takes you deep inside the protagonist’s experience while opening a wider window on to life for Palestinians and their exhausting day-to-day struggles. Hammad explores this setting with intelligence and a fine-grained specificity… A richly layered novel.” — The Guardian

“A thorough and thoughtful exploration of the role of art in the political arena.” — Kirkus, starred review

About the Author

Isabella Hammad was born in London. Her writing has appeared in Conjunctions, The Paris ReviewThe New York Times and elsewhere. She was awarded the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction and a 2019 O. Henry Prize. Her first novel The Parisian (2019) won a Palestine Book Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Betty Trask Award from the Society of Authors in the UK. She was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree, and has received literary fellowships from MacDowell and the Lannan Foundation. She is currently a fellow at the Columbia University Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Grove Press 2023
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0802162380



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