The Bells of Memory: A Palestinian Boyhood in Jerusalem
Issa J. Boullata
An LLP Singles essay.
Issa J. Boullata grew up in a Palestinian family in the Jerusalem of the 1930s and 1940s, when Palestine was under the British Mandate. His memoir, The Bells of Memory, is delightful in its reflections on an idyllic youth and detailed in its recollections of family members, classmates and teachers, remembered scents and foods, the pleasures of reading, and his early experience of the working world. This is a love letter to a Jerusalem that was changed immeasurably by Al-Nakba, the Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948 that dispossessed the Palestinians of their homeland and dislocated many as refugees when Israel was established.
Born in Jerusalem, Issa J. Boullata is a Palestinian writer, scholar, and translator who taught Arabic studies at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, before moving to Montreal, where he taught graduate courses in Arabic literature, Modern Arab Thought, and Qur’anic Studies until recently at McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies. The author of several books on Arabic literature and on the Qur’an, he is a noted translator of Arabic literature and has twice won the Arkansas Arabic Translation Award. He is contributing editor of Banipal magazine.