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This novel, by every measure, is an epic, generation one.
It descends from a dynasty of deep-rooted Arabic
novels which, historically speaking, goes back to the days of publishing
the trilogy of Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian Noble Prize laureate. Tracing
the history of a Palestinian village, the life of three generations of one of
its families, Ibrahim Nasrallah symbolizes the tragedy of the Palestinian
people through three epochs: the rule of the Ottoman Empire, the British
mandate and the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948.
Committee of Judges, The International Prize for Arabic Fiction
(Booker Prize)
“I do not fight to achieve victory; rather I fight in order not to give up my right. It has never
been the case that a nation has maintained its victory forever. My only fear is that we lose
forever, for he who loses will never rise up again. Tell them to beware not to lose forever.”
The Time of White Horses.
The Time of White Horses is considered by critics as the "missing novel in Palestinian literature" as
it deals with the history of the Palestinian people from a social, culture, historical and political
aspects. It sets forth to canvas the life of the Palestinian people during one of the murkiest periods
of their existence- the end of the Ottoman Empire. Against this background, the main character is
born to engross the environing rustic milieus with tales of bravery, charm and love stories that
become roaming popular tales. The novel also sheds lights on the affection the main character
develops for an exceptional white mare that appears one day from nowhere only to disappear
again leaving him in a tireless quest for her.
With the decline of the Ottoman rule and the beginning of the English Mandate in Palestine, the
national and humane mission of this epic hero began to take shape and reflect his people’s
aspiration to develop a national identity. At that time international political powers was vying to
dispossess the Palestinians from their national identity and their eligible aspiration to live an
independent and free life.
The Time of White Horses stands out as an epic novel that covers sixty years of the history of the
Palestinian people, beginning with the turn of the nineteenth century until the occupation of
Palestine in 1948. For the first time in Palestinian literature, comes a novel with such scope and
depth, that reveals the story of what took place in Palestine and what happened to Palestinians
during that period in history. In addition to shedding light at the historical and political roots of the
ongoing trauma of the Palestinians, the novel touches upon the culture of tolerance and
coexistence among Palestinian Muslims and Christians, and the root of the dispute that continue to
exist between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Arabs including the Arab Orthodox.
Ibrahim Nasrallah starts this novel, which took him twenty and two years to rehearse, with an
ancient Arabic saying: “God made horses from the wind and Man from dust.” “He also made
houses,” adds Nasrallah, “from human beings.” Accordingly, the writer divides his novel into three
parts: Wind, Dust and Human Beings.
The Time of White Horses revolves around a Palestinian dynasty whose men’s fates are dictated
by the love of horses, and whose members cherish the belief that “the ages of men are longer than
those of empires.” The characters in this novel are living bitter and complex conflicts; nevertheless,
they are alike in their passion for horses. The main character is a popular Palestinian hero whose
characteristics Nasrallah molds from dozens of oral testimonies backed by Palestinian folktales.
Nasrallah tracks this character from childhood onwards to the end, and details it as a man who is
brave and loving beyond imagination. In addition to the main character, the novel is a host to no
less interesting characters: a tough British officer possessed by the love of horses and his amour
for poetry, Palestinian women of an extraordinary profile who identify with their horses and with
those of their men, and another array of complexly laminated and potent characters.
The Time of White Horses queries the important junctures of this tempestuous scope, and the bitter
strife between the Palestinian villagers and their leadership in the countryside and the city on one
hand, and the Jewish immigrants and the Arab leaderships, on the other hand.
The novel, which especially relies upon cinematographic scenes, combines various forms of art
especially the Palestinian folklore. The day-to-day Palestinian life proceeds to the fore of the
capacious human landscape; this life is woven into endless tales of heroism and love, life and
death, betrayal and purity, mercy and cruelty. At the same time, the mythology about horses hovers
the lives of the people shedding light on the deepest insides of the characters and on the key
values of a community so rich in its rituality and mythology.
The Time of White Horses is a story about real people made of flesh and blood that used to live on
real land; a people that had had a rich life so infinitive and unforgettable, a life laced with tension,
happiness, sorrow and tragedy.

Exhibited At: International book fairs