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Pay No Heed to the Rockets (Audiobook)

Pay No Heed to the Rockets (Audiobook)

Duration:  12h 9m Unabridged
Published:   September 7, 2021
BTC Audiobooks  /  Non-Fiction  /  Travel
Digital Audio:   9781773102597    $40.00  SRP
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“Leaving aside the usual political covens and an inclination to despair, Di Cintio’s lucid account of present-day Palestine is the inspired portrait of a nation in dialog with its ghosts past and future affirming its right to be. This is a necessary book for our bewildered times.” — Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading

Marcello Di Cintio first visited Palestine in 1999. Like most outsiders, the Palestinian narrative that he knew had been simplified by a seemingly unending struggle, a near-Sisyphean curse of stories of oppression, exile, and occupation told over and over again.

In Pay No Heed to the Rockets, he reveals a more complex story, the Palestinian experience as seen through the lens of authors, books, and literature. Using the form of a political-literary travelogue, he explores what literature means to modern Palestinians and how Palestinians make sense of the conflict between a rich imaginative life and the daily tedium and violence of survival.

Di Cintio begins his journey on the Allenby Bridge that links Jordan to Palestine. He visits the towns and villages of the West Bank, passes into Jerusalem, and then travels through Israel before crossing into Gaza. En route, he meets with poets, authors, librarians, and booksellers. He begins to see Palestine through their eyes, through their stories.

In the company of literary giants like Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani, and the contemporary authors whom they continue to inspire, Di Cintio travels through the rich cultural and literary heritage of Palestine. It's there that he uncovers a humanity, and a beauty, often unnoticed by news media. At the seventieth anniversary of the Arab-Israeli War, Pay No Heed to the Rockets tells a fresh story about Palestine, one that begins with art rather than war.
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Over the past twenty years, Marcello Di Cintio has built a career as one of Canada’s most insightful and incisive nonfiction authors, earning prizes along the way that include the Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize, as well as nominations for the Taylor Prize for Nonfiction and the British Columbia National Award for Non-Fiction.

Di Cintio’s essays have been published in the Walrus, Canadian Geographic, the Globe and Mail, the Times Literary Supplement, the International New York Times, Condé Nast Traveller, EnRoute, and Swerve. He is also the author of six books, including Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in Present Tense, Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, and Poets and Pahlevans: A Journey into the Heart of Iran. He lives in Calgary.


Pay No Heed to the Rockets is a daring act. That Di Cintio (author of Walls and Poets and Pahlevans) researches his subjects thoroughly, conducts in-depth reporting, and writes with vigour and humility is further testimony to his skill in handling one of the most divisive political stories of the last 100 years.” — Quill & Quire

“This is one of the best books I have ever read about Palestine.” — Jonathan Fryer, Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster, and Politician

“Di Cintio writes with clarity and grace, [and] portrays the writers with modesty and empathy ... Even for a reader familiar with Palestinian literature, Pay No Heed to the Rockets uncovers stories from the past with emotional vivacity and brings to life the lengths to which prisoners went in order to educate themselves and others, and to write ... Di Cintio weaves together history with a sense of place and infuses character with dialogue and humour to produce a contemporary portrait of a people who continue to resist both occupation and simple categorisation in this masterful work.” — The Electronic Intifada

“Di Cintio takes the reader on a literary journey to see how Palestinians living under occupation and siege today find the inspiration to keep on writing, despite, or sometimes because of, adverse circumstances.” — The Jordan Times

“This blend of history and travel will interest all seeking a better understanding of Palestinian life.” — Library Journal

“In just a little over 200 pages, Di Cintio introduces us to dozens of writers, each living a different creative life in cities ranging from Ramallah to Haifa to Gaza to Jerusalem.” — The National

“Interweaving history and politics, the book introduces Western readers to the modern Palestinian literary scene while celebrating the rich diversity of voices that comprise it. Illuminating reading from a highly engaged author.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Leaving aside the usual political covens and an inclination to despair, Di Cintio’s lucid account of present-day Palestine is the inspired portrait of a nation in dialog with its ghosts past and future affirming its right to be. This is a necessary book for our bewildered times.” — Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading

“One of the best travel writers of his generation ... Marcello Di Cintio tells compelling and engrossing stories with his customary mix of vivid detail, a strong sense of history, a lovely sense of humour and, above all, a fascination with the human race in all its contradictions.” — Margaret MacMillan, author of Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World

“In Pay No Heed to the Rockets, Marcello Di Cintio does something fundamental, and crucial, that foreign writers visiting Palestine rarely bother with: he listens. With humility, respect, and great sensitivity, he seeks out writers, people skilled at telling stories, and asks them to narrate their own situations. The result is a document that captures not only the manifold sorrows and injustices of Palestinian life but something of its beauty, its joys, and its yearning.” — Ben Ehrenreich, author of The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine

“What [Di Cintio] does do, bravely and forcefully, and with impressive commitment, is to bear witness to the suffering of people.” — The Guardian

“Di Cintio, a journalist and essayist best known for the award–winning Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, recounts his experiences with Palestinian fiction writers and poets in the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza whose work steers clear of patriotic pieties ... Pay No Heed to the Rockets marks the successful culmination of a personal journey in which Di Cintio strove ‘to see Palestinians as a people unto themselves, not merely as one half of a warring binary. Not in opposition but in situ.’” — Rayyan Al–Shawaf, The Believer

“A powerful journey through Palestine’s written art, where silenced authors defend themselves, female writers speak loudly and stolen private libraries are restored.” — Atef Abu Saif, author of A Suspended Life, short–listed for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction

“A masterful work. Di Cintio weaves together history with a sense of place, character and dialog infused with humor, to produce a contemporary portrait of a people who continue to resist both occupation and simple categorization.” — Selma Dabbagh, author of Out of It, nominated for The Guardian’s Book of the Year

“[Di Cintio] writes well, unpicking some of the world’s trouble spots in spare and lucid prose.” — Middle East Monitor

“Marcello Di Cintio is an active participant who reacts emotionally to the Palestinians he interviews ... Rather than focusing on the ugliness of deprivation, he seeks out the experiences of Palestinian writers and artists for whom, he says, nothing is more beautiful than a story ... Through its rich descriptions, Pay No Heed to the Rockets depicts Palestine as a place filled with life and hope ... Di Cintio explores the lived experiences, of a people whose homes, but not their identities, have been displaced.” — Sam Risak, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Traveling through the West Bank, into Jerusalem, across Israel, and into Gaza, Di Cintio reveals life in contemporary Palestinian territories through the lens of its authors, books, and literature ... Throughout he finds ‘no life undarkened ... by conflict’ but also ‘no life wholly defined’ by it either.” — Amy Alipio and Starlight Williams, National Geographic

“One of the great tragedies of Palestine is how little most outsiders know of everyday Palestinians. Journalist Di Cintio narrows this gap by recounting his nearly 20 years of visits to the West Bank and Gaza, weaving conversations around the writings of Palestine’s many literary figures ... Literature, history, and politics inevitably intertwine ... A timely and exquisite book.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Di Cintio (Walls: Travels Along the Barricades) offers a powerful and perceptive reflection on Palestinian culture in a memoir that mixes travelogue and literary appreciation ... Di Cintio’s prose is wonderfully descriptive, whether portraying libraries and bookstores dedicated to preserving and promoting a cultural history threatened with elimination or recounting stories of novels being written in prison on cigarette wrappers. This is a refreshing and hopeful reminder that on both sides of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict are countless people who wish to live their lives free of the hatred borne of geopolitical conflict.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Di Cintio’s tour is a good introduction to current Palestinian literary life. He tries to take no side in the conflict ... What he’s advocating for is sympathy for human beings.” — Mike Wold, Real Change

“Deeply satisfying survey of the Palestinian literary scene.” — +972 Magazine

“There have been many books detailing the lives of the millions of people crammed into the confines of what critics have called an open–air prison, but none written by an outsider has delved so insightfully into the lives Palestinians live in their own minds, the dreams and mental challenges that help them to get through each day. It’s a heartbreaking achievement, necessary reading even in the extremely busy field of writing on this subject.” — Open Letters Review

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