Isabella Hammad at Harvard Book Store
in conversation with ANDREW MARTIN
May 8, 2023
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes ISABELLA HAMMAD—award-winning writer and National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree—for a discussion of her new novel Enter Ghost. She will be joined in conversation by ANDREW MARTIN, author of Early Work—a New York Times notable book of 2018.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:
- Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.
About Enter Ghost
After years away from her family’s homeland, and healing from an affair with an established director, stage actress Sonia Nasir returns to Palestine to visit her older sister Haneen. Though the siblings grew up spending summers at their family home in Haifa, Sonia hasn’t been since the second intifada and the deaths of her grandparents. While Haneen stayed and made a life commuting to Tel Aviv to teach at the university, Sonia remained in London to focus on her burgeoning acting career and now dissolute marriage. On her return, she finds her relationship to Palestine is fragile, both bone-deep and new.
Once 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. Soon, Sonia is rehearsing Gertude’s lines in Classical Arabic and spending more time in Ramallah than in Haifa 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 invasive and 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.
Praise for Enter Ghost
“Enter Ghost is a masterful, deeply convincing portrait of the all-too-real consequences of political theater—in both senses. A moving and important novel that presses upon the urgent question of how we ought to live in the midst of the rubble (and ongoing chaos) of political crisis.” —Namwali Serpell, author of The Furrows
“There is so much to be said about this book: beautifully written, poignant yet forceful, thoughtful and thought provoking, but above all challenging, challenging the reader to respond to the question facing the characters in the novel: how to live under occupation while preserving your dignity and humanity? Hammad answers this question through taking us into the hearts and minds of the characters in the novel and through that into the heart and mind of Palestine.” —Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran
''Outstanding. Next-level. Aesthetically, intellectually, emotionally and culturally satisfying. It is astonishing but true that Isabella Hammad is incapable of striking a false note. She immerses her heroine in volatile territory with the accuracy, compassion and coolness of a surgical knife sliding into a diseased body. The result is a stunning beauty - an eye-opening, uplifting novel that grants its vulnerable cast and their endeavors a rare and graceful dignity.'' —Leila Aboulela, author of River Spirit
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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