Synopses & Reviews
The last Palestinian zoo stands on a dusty, dead-end street in the once prosperous farming town of Qalqilya, on the very edge of the West Bank.
The zoo's bars are rusting; peacocks wander quiet avenues shaded by broad plane trees; a teenage baboon broods in solitary confinement; walls bear the pockmarks of gunfire. And yet the zoo is an extraordinary place, with a bizarre, troubling and inspiring story to tell. At the center of this story is Dr. Sami Khader, the only zoo veterinarian in the Palestinian territories. Family man, amateur inventor, and dedicated taxidermist, he is fiercely independent, apolitical, and resourceful in times of crisis. Dr. Sami dreams of transforming the zoo into one of an international caliber.
In The Zoo on the Road to Nablus, Amelia Thomas brings the reader into a world rarely glimpsed from the outside, weaving the stories of the zoo's animals, its staff, and its visitors into a rich, colorful chronicle of the indomitability of the humanand animalspirit.
"This engaging and deftly told book shines a light on a lesser-known victim of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Palestine's last zoo, located in battle-ravaged Qalqilya, surrounded by Israel. British journalist Thomas recounts a year and a half in the life of the zoo, following zoo veterinarian Dr. Sami Khader's dogged often futile attempts to transform a neglected menagerie into an institution of international caliber. An enormously sympathetic portrait emerges of Khader's travails his grief over the deaths of beloved animals and his struggles to secure funding from a distracted government. Thomas crafts richly detailed depictions of the zoo, and her animal anecdotes are prefaced with meticulous often tedious histories of their origins (the introduction to the lion touches upon Charlemagne, Cicero and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair). Despite the lengthy historical asides, this book is a unique and fascinating account of one man's persistence and his fierce dedication to his animal friends. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In a unique zoo in one of the world's most turbulent regions, one man wages a strange and heroic battle for its animals' survival
About the Author
Amelia Thomas is a British journalist, working in the Palestinian Territories and Israel. She is a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor ,Middle East Times, Lonely Planet and Egypt Today.