109 | Tea and Tattle with Isabella Hammad
Listen to Episode 109: Tea & Tattle with Isabella Hammad
Welcome to the new season of Tea & Tattle! I’m so excited to be starting a fresh series of episodes. This week, I’m joined by the writer Isabella Hammad, to discuss Isabella’s debut novel, The Parisian.
Isabella splits her time between New York and London, and although only in her twenties, she writes with extraordinary maturity and confidence. In 2018, Isabella won the Plimpton Prize for Fiction for her story Mr. Can’aan, and her first novel has been hotly anticipated.
In The Parisian, a young Palestinian man, Midhat, arrives in France in October 1914 to study medicine. Midhat falls in love, witnesses the tragedy of war and begins a journey of self discovery as he becomes immersed in French society. Later, on returning to Nablus, Midhat is nicknamed ‘the Parisian’ by his friends, who are amused by his elegant dress and stories of his time in France. As Midhat struggles to find his place in the world, the shifting political scene in Palestine becomes increasingly dangerous.
The Parisian was published in mid-April and has already received glowing recommendations. Zadie Smith described the novel as ‘a sublime reading experience,’ and it is indeed an extraordinary read.
I very much enjoyed my conversation with Isabella and was so interested to learn about how stories about her great-grandfather first inspired Isabella to start writing The Parisian, as well as how an admiration for Virginia Woolf and Henry James novels influenced her love for language and writing style. We also spoke about how a sense of ‘otherness’ is often an experience of any creative, Isabella’s time in Nablus researching her novel, and much more.
The Parisian by Isabella Hammad.
Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee.
Visit Isabella’s author page.
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Read my blog, Miranda’s Notebook.