Enter Ghost: from one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists

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Enter Ghost: from one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists

Enter Ghost: from one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists

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Then, I hit upon Hamlet and it seemed actually a bit more natural as an option. I was really interested in the fact that during the, I think it was the First Intifada, Hamlet was banned in Israeli prisons. Because the, “To be or not to be,” speech was seen as a call to arms or militant resistance. “To take arms against a sea of troubles. And by opposing, end them.” And that was very kind of provocative to my imagination. So, I ran with it.

What moves Sonia from being “engaged with the political climate by default” (p. 40) to being more actively involved? Discuss the demonstration Sonia and Haneen go to in Jerusalem. In what ways is this form of political protest connected to their production of Hamlet, and in what ways does it feel different? Sonia researches the family’s past, while at the same time defending herself against feeling. Determinedly a tourist, she drifts through the days carrying a beach towel wherever she goes. Then Haneen introduces her to Mariam, a theatre director. On the way home they stop on a dark road by a house Sonia does not recognise. It is her grandparents’ house, scene of her childhood summers, now sold. “I looked up at the windows again and then, as if standing in a gallery of my mind, gazing down at the stage, waited for emotion to begin. It was like entering a church and expecting awe and holy feelings, except that now I was waiting for grief. In its absence another feeling crept upon me, a kind of exhausted despair.”Sonia’s fellow actors read Hamlet as an allegory for the Palestinian struggle. Sonia resists this oversimplified interpretation. But in the course of rehearsals, Sonia uncovers ghosts of her own, repressed memories, a family history of resistance, and a newly discovered commitment to the Palestinian cause. I think this is one of those moments, because an anagnorisis is always a coming to know something you sort of already knew on some level but refuse to look at. Which is itself very psychoanalytic. You’re kind of avoiding—On some level you know but you’re denying it, and then you turn to face it. And that experience changes you. That novel won a slew of prizes, and Granta included Hammad in its decennial Best of Young British Novelists list earlier this year.

Assured and captivating… Ms. Hammad’s acute evocation of place and personality ensures that we are never lost… This agile writer sets us firmly in place, fixing our attention on intersecting lives.”— Wall Street Journal

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Discuss the company’s final performance at the end of the novel. Why do you think they decided to undertake this particular performance despite all of the known risks? What final lines from Shakespeare conclude the book and why do you think the author made this choice?

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