Book Review: My Name is Adam

My Name is Adam: Tribulations of an unfinished storyOne cannot speak of the Palestinian Nakba of 1948 without touching upon identity and its ramifications. Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury’s novel, My Name is Adam is replete with questions and answers regarding identity, juxtaposed against inscribed recollections of the ethnic cleansing of Lydda.

No matter the veneer one strives to don as part of the journey moving forward, there is no forgetting. Khoury’s novel commences with a backdrop of events against which the Lydda narratives unfold. The narrator is introduced to Adam Dannoun who is presented as an Israeli to the readers. Yet there is an instant doubt about his real identity, which is revealed later when the man perishes in a fire and his notebooks, still intact, are given to the author by a mutual acquaintance.

From the beginning, the reader is exposed to the tribulations of an unfinished story. The notebooks themselves are incomplete and employ a variety of writing styles from literary to academic.

Yet the author’s decision to explore the Lydda massacres through fiction requires additional rigour. To write about the Nakba in literary prose also necessitates a story that is supplemented by research and facts. Hence the various references throughout the book to academic and non-fiction texts which substantiate Adam Dannoun’s story. Read more.

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