The Blue Between Sky and Water by Susan Abulhawa

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Nazmiyeh, one the main characters, is the matriarch of the Baraka family. When the siege takes place the family is uprooted from their home in Beit Daras and those who survive end up in a refugee camp. Nazmiyeh’s constant and unwavering strength holds the family together as they try to live their lives amidst the unrest. Parallel to Nazmiyeh’s grueling life is Nur’s. Born in America, Nur finds herself at the mercy of the welfare system after her paternal grandfather, Nazmiyeh’s brother, passes away. Recalling the many stories her grandfather would share when she was a young child, Nur travels to Palestine seeking a sense of belonging that eludes her in America.

As Nazmiyeh and Nur’s lives intertwine we hear the voice of Khaled. His narrative is before he is born and while he is alive, residing in what the author calls the ‘blue’ between sky and water. It is through his voice that the reader can visualize the happier times in Beit Daras, before the catastrophe, and the days when abundant strife and violence are the norm till today.

The Blue Between Sky and Water is a story where gossip, love, and laughter coincide with war, death, and illness.  In her second novel Susan Abulhawa once again delivers a deeply moving story.


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