Ruhiya is the muezzin’s daughter. She is a young woman of intense spirituality although her way of worship is unorthodox and disconcerts those around her. One night, she is spirited trance-like to her father’s mosque and to the top of the minaret where, breaching one of the deepest taboos of Islam, she performs the call to the dawn prayer herself. The previous night a young man who has recently embraced fundamentalist politics, Ruhiya’s childhood love and unbeknown to her, her half-brother, sets off on his way to a suicide mission. At the last moment her song reaches him and instead of detonating the explosives that have been strapped to him, he retreats and runs. The same day a foreign journalist is sent to the village to cover the two stories but
finds herself unable to penetrate the wall of silence facing her and has to look inside herself for answers. She does so with the encouragement of a little girl who hears and sees everything, the keeper of all secrets.
The story is set in an oasis village on a dark-red desert land in contemporary Palestine, against the political backdrop of the Israeli occupation. It is told over a period of 24 hours separated by the intervals between 5 prayer times. As 5 characters speak, a secret history unfolds: one of rape, incest and violent death. The title refers to a magical, healing substance that runs through the land like its lifeblood and the name of each character denotes their destiny.
With narratives broken by memories, unspeakable acts and desires are revealed, articulated. Conflicts shaped by cultural, sacred and emotional allegiances emerge. Through the themes of suicide and liberation, the story of one woman, one village and one people is told.
Original title: The Honey
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Regional Interest