"Are you taking their side?" He rolls up his shirt sleeves.
"I don’t take anyone’s side," she exclaims, despite the fact, that it seems to be exactly, what she is doing. "I'm just saying, that it's not every Arab, who’s thinking about blowing himself up in a crowd."
He takes a swig of the beer. "My name is Goren. Mark Goren. And you?"
"Astrid. Just Astrid."
In attempt to understand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Astrid travels to Bethlehem, where she meets Ibrahim and Natalie, both Christian Palestinians. Quickly she becomes involved in Ibrahim's life story, while Natalie seems to keep a secret. Astrid immediately sympathizes with the Palestinians and does not understand, that there is an Israeli side of the story as well. She is unilateral in her opinion until she meets Taly and Mark on the Israeli side of the wall, where her views are being challenged.
Taly has all her furniture collected in the middle of the room, and she never sleeps through the night. She is an Israeli jew, but both her parents are Arabs. Mark is a soldier in the military, and does not care for the Arabs or their right to exist. However, a militant episode unexpectedly changes something inside of him. Astrid returns to Copenhagen without any answers to what she thought she wanted answers to.
Unfortunately this novel is not yet to find in English.
The translation above is for promotional use only and does not constitute a definitive translation.
Below you'll find reviews, originally written in Danish, freely translated into English.
Reviews of the book:
"It takes a solid amount of courage to dare, in a good and solid way, to illustrate the problems and the difference in the perception of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Pernille Bernitt Sommer, who is originally a teacher, and who debuts with this novel, does exactly that. After a trip to Israel and Palestine back in 2008 and a number of personal experiences, she has chosen to throw her bid of an analysis into the flames. And yes, that is brave. But it is also quite refreshing. [...] I already know the views represented in this book, but with that being said it does not mean, that you can not learn anything, and that the book can not surprise you, because it can. It is excellent writing. And the story is good and vividly told. And if you do not know much about the conflict, you can learn quite a lot. But it is especially the descriptions, that work really well. When I read a book, I like to instantly form a picture of what is being described. I can quite easily do that through this book. [...] All in all, a good reading experience of a well-written story and - I think - a rather powerful debut."
Claus Henriksen, Bogblogger.dk
"Do you want to read a story about living in the West Bank, have a slight insight into the many conflicts, that live within people down there, and at the same time get a little nice tale about friendship and love, then ‘Love your enemy?’ is a fine suggestion for a read."
"Pernille Bernitt Sommer writes very well. She manages to describe places, people and atmospheres, so you feel, that you are there, and have you actually been there, you can recognize, what you are reading. [...] After having read, there is no doubt, that the author will like to outline the complexity of the conflict and try to clarify it, while investigating whether the involved parties - represented by the young Palestinian and Israeli main characters - can meet, and be moved from one place to another, in purpose of reaching a point where a solution might be in sight. It is brave to deal with such complex and controversial subjects and a great way to get (especially young) people interested in the conflict. If it succeeds and the readers want and appetite to know more, then the mission has succeeded."
Uffe Gjerding, cand. teol. / Middle East Expert and board member of Bethlehem's Friends
"The manuscript is well set-out and well-written and, in addition to being thought-provoking, the story is also entertaining and exciting."
Jens Eichler Lorenzen, Editor
© Pernille Bernitt Sommer