Young love, meddling relatives, heart-to-hearts with friends real and imagined - Philistia's world is that of an ordinary university student, except that in occupied Palestine, and when your father is in indefinite detention, nothing is straightforward.
Philistia is closest to her childhood, and to her late grandmother and her imprisoned father, when she's at her part-time job washing women's bodies at the ancient Ottoman hammam in Nablus, the West Bank. A midwife and corpse washer in her time, Grandma Zahia taught Philistia the ritual ablutions and the secrets of the body: the secrets of life and death.
On the brink of adulthood, Philistia embarks on a journey through her country's history - a magical journey, and one of loss and centuries of occupation.
As trees are uprooted around her, Philistia searches for a place of refuge, a place where she can plant a memory for the ones she's lost.
Publisher: Neem Tree Press Limited
Number of pages: 96
Weight: 100 g
Dimensions: 178 x 111 x 7 mm
A most ordinary, magical, devastating story: What Trees for the Absentees shares with works by authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Louis Borges is that it finds a way within fiction to beautifully express what the 'real' somehow cannot. -- Dr Nora Parr
Life in a West Bank village from the point of view of a teenage girl, Philistia. Her multi-layered stories of daily life give an elegant insight into life under the current occupation and some of the historical context. -- Mike Scott-Baumann