Sambac Beneath Unlikely Skies is written for those who had to leave—collected remembrances of a childhood in Gaza by a woman far from Palestine’s sun and sea. Overindulgent, chaotic and sentimental, Heba Hayek’s narrator struggles to navigate life in colder, unfamiliar worlds. She holds tightly to memories of home, hoping they will lead back to her sisters and mothers.
With brilliance and grace, Hayek’s vignettes explore the methods of survival nurtured by Palestinian women in the face of colonial occupation and patriarchy—the power of community care, and of loving what’s not meant to be loved. Her reflections reveal the intimate magnificence and quiet devastation of everyday life: a family drive on the shore, waxing for the first time with aunties, or peeling figs while waiting at a checkpoint.