May 15, 2024

“A Mask, the Color of the Sky”..Exploring the Identity of the Spirit and Homeland

A Mask, the Color of the Sky

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“A Mask, the Color of the Sky” is a journey of searching for roots, identity, and homeland, embarked upon by Noor, the protagonist, after discovering a blue identity like the color of the sky. He believed that the artificial life associated with it would grant him the warmth and homeland that had been forcibly taken from him.

“A Mask, the Color of the Sky” is a Palestinian novel published by  Dar Al-Adab in Lebanon in 2023. Spanning 240 pages, it is authored by the imprisoned Palestinian writer Basim Khandaqji. The novel won the International Prize For Arabic Fiction, known as the “Arabic Booker Prize,” in its seventeenth edition on April 28, 2024.

the story

The novel revolves around ‘Noor’, an archaeologist residing in a camp in Ramallah. One day, he finds a blue identity card in the pocket of an old coat, belonging to an Israeli citizen named ‘Or’. ‘Noor’ decides to assume ‘Or’s’ identity to fulfill one of his dreams of writing a novel about “Mary Magdalene.”

In Noor’s journey of adopting his new identity as ‘Or,’ we witness the deep-rooted tragedy of Palestine that has stripped ‘Noor’ of his identity and detached him from his true self. Circumstances, including his proficiency in Hebrew and his Ashkenazi features—a term referring to Jews of European origin—aid ‘Noor’ in embarking on this quest. He pursues his dream of uncovering the origins of the novel about “Mary Magdalene.”

Returning to history

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