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Replenishing the Sea of Galilee: A Family Saga across Ethnicity, Place, and Religion: A Novel by Wagih Abu-Rish

A heartwarming tale of love, acceptance, and family…

Set against the background of the forever present conflict between Palestine and Israel, Abu-Rish’s latest is a poignant story of love, loss, and the power of perseverance. 1940s, Palestine. Twins Rasheed Dinar and Rasheeda Dinar work in the family inn. Rasheed falls in love with Natalia, a Jewish woman. But tensions between Arabs and Jews are reaching a breaking point. Soon, Natalia disappears under mysterious circumstances, and the siblings are chased out of Palestine. Forced to flee to Beirut, Lebanon, the Dinar siblings’ convictions are tested over time. Will the family reunite? Told in a third-person omniscient perspective, the book details different ways that people deal with loss and pain and how differences that separate people become meaningless in the face of familial ties, love, and loyalty. The story spans over several decades and takes place in Palestine and then moves to Europe, sails past the Sea of Galilee, and travels across the Atlantic. The earlier narrative unfolds mostly over Rasheed and Rasheeda’s childhood and early adult years. The author deftly weaves together varied narratives—Rasheed and Rasheeda’s enduring bond, the heartbreaking tale of Rasheed and Natalia’s unexpected separation, the family’s time in Lebanon and onwards. Though each story could stand on its own, the author brings together many separate threads to form a wholesome story of love and family. As Rasheed navigates complicated relationships with Natalia, as well as his sister, the novel explores questions of individual angst, insecurities, self-doubt, and how life is not always fair but worth living nonetheless. Abu-Rish shows knack for creating realistic and deeply developed characters. Rasheeda’s personal struggles with misogynistic ways of the male-dominated Palestinian society and her complicated yet enduring bond with her brother ground her as a character and make her sympathetic, as well. When the brother-sister duo is forced out of Palestine, their perseverance remains inspiring. Natalia is equally compelling. Secondary cast is tremendously vast but the characters are well developed in their own right. Despite following a predictable path, the story’s journey toward its long-winded but satisfying conclusion is thoroughly heartfelt. Some explicit sex scenes may turn off a few readers. With a plot-focused narrative and straightforward prose, this uplifting tale about the power of love and family ties in the face of hatred, intolerance, and conflicting ideologies and religious beliefs will keep readers engaged throughout.

Replenishing the Sea of Galilee

A Family Saga across Ethnicity, Place, and Religion

Wagih Abu-Rish

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Greenleaf Book Group Press

Pub date August 17, 2021

ISBN 978-1626348493

Price $13.60 (USD) Hardcover, $16.95 Paperback, $4.99 Kindle edition

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