Synopses & Reviews
The Wind in My Hair is the memoir of Salwa Salem, who was just eight years old when she and many other Palestinians were uprooted by the Zionists in al-Nakba (the catastrophe). After her family fled to Jaffa and then to Nablus, she spent the rest of her life in exile: in Damascus, Kuwait, Vienna, and finally, Italy. Salem's story of displacement and exile is in one sense the story of all Palestinians; her account of her own political engagement and that of members of her own family tells the political history of an embattled people. But she is no token Palestinian; she is, above all, her own person: a courageous and vital woman who claimed the right to be free to choose her work and her husband; to read Kafka and Simone de Beauvoir alongside Arab literature; to love both opera and the songs of Fairouz; to be involved in politics and have a family. If the particular pitch of this memoir derives from its deathbed narration (as Salem lay dying of cancer, she dictated the story of her life to Laura Maritano), it is the memoir's precision, its judicious balance of the personal and the political, that triumphs over any individual or national tragedy. Salem refuses to be simply a victim--of war, of political injustice, of sickness--but embraces life passionately to the end, and in doing so, has left the world the gift of her life story.