‘Code Name: Butterfly’ by Ahlam Bsharat – A book review

‘Code Name: Butterfly’ by Ahlam Bsharat is a journey in the life and the dreams of a little Palestinian female teenager that lives in a small Arabic village. The short novel describes aspects of the Arabic culture and also the daily struggles that Palestinian families face due to the Israeli occupation that restricts the very basic daily activities that we take for granted.

The book travels in the inner world of the main hero to discover her thoughts and dreams. We are able to know her inside out as if she is whispering to the reader throughout the book about her deepest and heartfelt secrets. Through her relationship with her family, friends and the land where she lives a whole world is revealed, different to any other world I have known before.

I found the book very interesting as it depicts the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the view of an innocent child. Throughout the book, “Butterfly” creates a world full of questions that stimulate the need of urgent answers.

I read the Arabic version and the English translation, which is excellent. I highly recommend this book. The book is aimed at teenagers between the age of 13 and 16 but it is suitable for adults too. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it as it reveals the Palestinian daily life in a very real and simplistic yet compelling way.

Samah Naga
Head of Arabic at Oundle School

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