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Book Review: A Wall of Sand by Mohammad Ali

A Wall of Sand by Mohammad Ali is a riveting romance novel backdropped against the world’s most politically and militarily vulnerable region – Gaza border. The author is a well-travel person, he traversed across the Middle Eastern countries, so his depiction of border areas and its allied life along with locals’ cultures is genuine and authentic to the readers.

Right at the beginning, it comes out evidently that the story is placed around southern region of Palestine and Israel, which is quite peaceful than the other border crossings. People, especially Palestinians, cross the border for work every day without much tension. As elections approaching in both countries, it’s understandable that some nasty politicians may try to take advantage of border issues for their personal motifs.

Like banter in the backdrop, Palestine and Israel conflict sway up and down…but the hardcore soul of the novel takes us to the love story of Fahd and Leah. Fahd lives in Gaza. He attends a college, however after the demise of his father, he begins working first as a waiter that job takes him to the other side of the border in Israel. There he first-time meets Leah, the girl from a rich Jewish family. But soon Fahd was nudged to take a taxi driver to meet the financial and logistic needs of his family.

From the other side, Leah after completing her nursing course, takes internship in a hospital in Palestine. She travels everyday across the border with some difficulty. However, when Fahd becomes her regular cab driver, she feels comfortable but their love affair actuates invariably.

The novel inches gradually and sketches its characters and ambience bit by bit, pouring minute details of Arabs and Jews. Vivid description of people’s thought process, heart wishes, local cuisines, and their day-to-day life patterns sound not only gullible but also transports readers to that place so that they feel as surreal and emphatic as the people struggling and living there.

"Although mom was unaware of Leah's uneasiness, Danny could see that she was not within herself and tried talking to her, but Leah could hardly focus on what he said."

Objective nitty-gritty refines the brilliance of story's backdrop. The author presented moment by moment observation of a family's mechanism, especially from Fahd's side.

The novel begins receiving climatic subplots when the political and military tension between both the countries escalates to a point of no return. Amid the chaos and confusion, Leah could not go to her home country. Fahd and his family hide her but for not long. Mossad begins suspecting them. The family comes up with a brilliant idea, which materializes and the girl is sent to her home in Israel.

The circumstances bring Fahd and Leah so close that they feel a bond of love for each other. However, their confession waits due to many reasons. But as they separate, their love oozes out of limits that they decide to reunite for a brighter future…but it isn’t that simple. They have to endure the test of the fate and what not. The reunion of true lovers isn’t a straight walk. The border is sealed by a mighty wall but for the bearers of true lovers it’s nothing but a wall of sand. Will they reunite? Or walk away their own ways?

Mohammad Ali holistically narrates the story from both sides and leaves it up to readers for their personal interpretation as what happens to Leah, Fahd and his family.

The novel is a long yet interesting read! Overall, the story is good that moves at a measured pace with controlled usage of language. For discerning romance readers, this will be a different novel with an international political backdrop.    

Order your copy from Amazon Kindle.


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