Stella Maris
Elias Khoury

“During that night’s long water march Adam became a Haifawi, and such he would remain until his last day. He loved Jaffa and its endless sea, as he loved the bars of Tel Aviv and the Bauhaus architecture of the White City whose houses turned their backs to the sea. But it would be Haifa that would be etched on his soul and would leave on it the imprint of the Carmel’s meeting with the sea, as if the city was bursting forth from the sea or was about to dive into it. Here, in Haifa, Adam discovered the immersion of his pain and his fears, the tension that filled his soul, and the rhythms of love that resembled the moments of silence connecting the beats of his heart. To his dying day he would remain captivated by the feeling that he lived on the wings of a white dove hovering over the waves on the edges of the white sea.”

Stella Maris is the Haifa-based novel about Adam, a young Palestinian surrounded by remnants of memories that ceaselessly gnaw at his brain as he is bounced off the walls of existence in the Jewish state of the 1960s. This is a sequel to Children of the Ghetto, and it is a bildungsroman about Adam’s entry into Hebrew literature, in whose shadow he shelters in order to repress the past. But literature deludes Adam and sends him back through a chain of coincidences to his past: to the surprising encounter with Marek Adelman, the hero of the Warsaw Ghetto, and to a no less surprising encounter with an anonymous woman dentist who must choose between a dead father and a father who is a murderer.


Elias Khoury writes his Arabic novel into Hebrew literature, challenging the boundaries between Arabic and Hebrew, and while doing so plays with, stretches, and explores the possibilities of literary fiction.


Translator: Yehouda Shenhav Shaharabani | Translation Editor: Huda Abu Much