Book review: Between River and Sea: Encounters in Israel and Palestine by Dervla Murphy

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At 83 most people are slowing down. Not feisty author Dervla Murphy.

She is off travelling the world and experiencing places most folk half her age wouldn’t dare to venture.

Her latest book gives a fascinating insight into the troubles facing people living in Israel and Palestine. Of people who would like to live in peace, but face the daily battles that divide both sides.

Dervla visited the region in 2009/10 and the delay in publishing the book is down to the fact that a hip and shoulder replacement put the project on hold for a while.

But the wait is worth it, as this book, which is so much more than a travel log, sees Dervla visiting and speaking to as many different people as she can, who are experiencing life living in Haifa hi-rises, in homes in the settlement and in a refugee camp on the West bank.

She listens with sympathy and puzzlement to people who are wise, foolish or just deluded as they fight to prove why their view is right. Overall her sympathies lie with the Palestinians, cut off from their homeland and living a sad and troubled life.

Coming from Ireland, Dervla knows only too well, what conflict can cause and this inspiring book, published by a firm determined to keep great literature in print, will certainly have the reader thinking.

Between River and Sea: Encounters in Israel and Palestine by Dervla Murphy, £18.99, published by Eland Books, www.travelbooks.co.uk