For the first time in six years, Ibrahim enjoys a breakfast of tomatoes, onions and pita bread, while his girlfriend Ruth takes a parcel to the local post office. As he waits for her return, he reflects on the events of the previous few days and then of the past few years.
He is Palestinian, she Israeli and they live in London, a city they explore and grow to love. They delight in living against the political tide and in confounding people’s assumptions. But, as the situation in the Middle East deteriorates, so it inevitably impinges on their life together and they struggle to maintain their relationship. It is the family secret that Ibrahim finally reveals that threatens to engulf them forever.
Samir El-Youssef is Palestinian and was born in Rashidia refugee camp in southern Lebanon. He arrived in London in 1990 where he has been working as a journalist and novelist. He is the author of Gaza Blues co-authored with the Israeli Etgar Keret, and The Illusion of Return which has also been published in Germany, Israel and the US.
His essays and reviews have appeared in The Guardian, New Statesman, Washington Post, Jewish Quarterly, and the Arabic Al-Hayat, amongst others. In 2005 he won the Swedish
PEN-Tucholsky Award for promoting the cause of peace and freedom of speech in the Middle East. El-Youssef makes regular appearances at literary festivals.