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By: KASHUA, Sayed
Fiction, Kinneret, 2017
Above all else, “Track Changes” is a probing work about the stories Palestinians and Israelis tell themselves about their lives, what they choose to remember and what they choose to forget, the blurred lines between personal and national memories, and begs the question of its readers: what was your first memory?
A man who left fraught Jerusalem with his wife and children to immigrate to the USA receives, after years of complete estrangement from his parents and siblings, a message from his father: “I’m in the hospital”. He gets on the next plane, preparing to accompany the father through his illness, and at the same time, to confront his own past, his present, and the shadows of two traumatic departures: the first, from his childhood in the Palestinian village of Tira, where he was raised, and the second, his expected farewell to his father.
Why was he excommunicated from his family? Why in the USA is he also alone, banished by his wife from their family home? And how is this all connected to the fact that years ago he wrote a short story about a young girl named Palestina? Alongside his father’s hospital bed, the accounting of his life is painful and deceiving– for this man is a famous memoirist, and it’s impossible to untangle which memories are his, and which he has stolen.
“Track Changes” is a profound reflection on relationships -- those between husband and wife, and father and son.
“Track Changes” is the fourth novel of the author, screenwriter, and journalist Sayed Kashua (“Dancing Arabs”, “Let it be Morning”, “Second Person Singular”), along with his recently published non-fiction collection “Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life”. His most daring and personal novel yet, “Track Changes” is a work of fiction that cleverly borrows from the author’s own life. The novel can be read as Kashua’s “confession” but at the same time it deliberately undermines all reliability and demands to be read as fiction.
Rights Sold to:
France: Editions Olivier; Holland: Ambo/Anthos; Israel: Kinneret (September 2017); Germany: Berlin/Piper; USA: Grove Atlantic