Leon Uris retums to the land of his acclaimed best-seller Exodus for an epic story of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness. The Middle East is the powerful setting for this sweeping tale of a land where revenge is sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab ruler tries to save his people from destruction but cannot save them from themselves. When violence spreads like a plague across the lands of Palestine - this is the time of The Haj.
©1984 Leon Uris (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I read this book in 1984 when it first came out. I have a note in my records that I thought the book was excellent. I can remember that I did not enjoy it as much as I did “Exodus.” I thought that with all the problems in the Middle East the book might provide me with some insight to the situation, so I decided to re-read the book.
The story is about a Palestinian Arab family living in Palestine in the 1920-1950 eras. The main narrator of the story is Ishmael the youngest son of Ibrahim, who is the Muktar of an isolated village of Tabah in the Ajalon Valley. The book drags along, Ibrahim made his pilgrimage to Mecca as a young man. The pilgrimage is called the Haj, thus the title of the book. The story takes us to the formation of Israel and the family chooses to flee Palestine to a refugee camp near Jericho.
Uris provides colorful details, descriptions of the country and lots of sex and violence. I had to keep in mind the book is written by a Jew and the time frame of the book is 1920 to 1950. Uris does provide some history mixed into the story. I really enjoyed the part of the story when Ishmael took artifact he found to the archeologist. The history explained by him and the explanation about archeology was interesting. The author does write with some sympathy for the Arabs but mostly the impression I got from the book is the British and Arabs are bad and the Jews are good.
I had a totally different response to the book than I did when I read it in 1984. At that time I just enjoyed the story, this time I see the hyperbole, propaganda and the oversimplification. The story remains exciting but now I guess I can see more than just the story. Neil Shah does a good job narrating the story.
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
This was a book that confirmed my impressions about blind hatred and how much damage it can do. I found it so sad that the family who were the "protagonists" of the story, that of Haj Ibrahim, were all victims of the hatred that they espoused and continued. One by one, the children died due to savagery on the part of their own people, not the Israelis. There were a number of references in the book to the fact that the Arabs really had very little problem with the "Jews" but had a lot of problems with their own people. The notion that one was raised from infancy to hate a people for no reason blew me away, though I have known for some time that this happens. It is like a family feud that is fuelled by nothing but a history of the feud itself. Many of the Arabs refused to take supplies offered by the Jews so as not to give them the impression that they needed them in order to survive. And yet, the Arabs in this story fed on hatred and it ultimately consumed them in both a spiritual and physical sense. There were very disturbing parts of this book but I feel it was probably fairly accurate. I am sure that there are people who would think that this book was biased. I do not think so. The Haj was a very good book and a sad story of a family self-destructing.
Uris is known for his ability to put actual events,people and philosophies into a "fictional " form. He has done it again here and anyone who thinks that the Western world can come to a meeting of the minds and achieve a lasting peace with the Arab world is delusional. Uris takes you on a walk through history through the eyes of an extraordinarily likable character. He sees and often internally battles with his own culture. In the end, you have seen what molded the events in the Middle East, understood the how and why's, and come out with the frightening understanding that it can't and won't ever change. I think we all have suspected it, but now we know why. Very well written and performed. A gripping story.
What an extraordinary work of historical fiction and what brilliant narration!
Extreme reaction was of being completely engrossed!
Uris takes 21 hours to make a very good case that the world is better off when the power to control the course of events is not in the hands of superstitious fanatics and to explain the complexities at play in the middle east and similar regions - but I can get that message validated from listening to a minute of news on the BBC any morning. The characters are too stereotypical to care about and the stereotyped accents of the narrator come close to mockery. I would recommend this book as a way for high school students to learn the region's history, current events, and civics in a manner more interesting than reading a text book but it was not an entertaining way to spend 21 hours.
It is said that only African Americans can use the n-word; for anyone else to do so is offensive. Similarly, for a Jew to write this book that extols the goodness of the Jews while painting Arabs as lazy, dirty, untrustworthy, liars is both uncomfortable and offensive. Much of what he writes may or may not be true, but that is not the point. He is the wrong messenger, because it comes across ad self-glorification.
Palestine made clear.
Exodus, same author, more expanded subject
A sense of the place and time is elicited by his accent.
I read this book many years ago, I love it in the audio because I'm able to share it with my husband who otherwise couldn't read it. He also loves this book.
Married to a Presbyterian Pastor - 4 grand children - just returned from a mission trip to Russia - Career - Interior designer
Exodus tells about the plight of the Jewish people without a land
Haj is a story about the Arabs who have land they do not use or cultivate
The clash of the two cultures is heartbreaking
Great! Very articulate - acting out the voices beautifully - one does not have to figure out who is talking because Neil Shah so easily takes on a different voice for each character- even the women. Wonderful Reader!
Arab Assumptions and Chaos
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