chapter  4
Palestine in the Colonial Present
Ruins, Rifts and the Remainder
ByLindsey Moore
Pages 48

This chapter brings together selected life writing from the 'Nakbah generation', born either in historic Palestine or in the first few years after its loss in the catastrophe (al-nakbah), as Palestinians see it, of 1948. It focuses on Edward Said's Out of Place; his sister Jean Said Makdisi's Teta, Mother and Me; Ghada Karmi's In Search of Fatima and Return and aspects of Raja Shehadeh's Strangers in the House and Palestinian Walks. The chapter demonstrates that contemporary Palestinian memoirs engage in 'performative mode[s] of critical revisionism' that legitimize both Palestinian memory and forward-facing ways of thinking about national identity. It engages a formally diverse body of work that issues from locations both in and outside the current Palestinian territories. The personal literary archives of the Nakbah generation conceptualize 'all that remains' of Palestine not only as ruins, but also as a remainder that disrupts calcified understandings of identity and belonging.