The Drone Eats With Me

By Atef Abu Saif
Comma Press

“For nearly a century we have lived through a circle of violence and each year it spirals deeper.”

Here is an encyclopaedia of war – a glimpse behind the headlines that simplify, or westernise, our image of what is really going on. The writer, Atef Abu Saif, writes from his own point of view as a citizen of Gaza during the months of July and August in 2014, those months when horrific events were leaked into our consciousness through the media and sympathised from a distance.

The narrator’s voice guides us through 51 days of war. It’s painful and harrowing, leaving no detail unrecorded. Death becomes the protagonist. It has long arms to snatch you, it pursues, it has footsteps, it lingers. Death is not satisfied. It needs more. This tension builds and subsides in a constant fluctuation between attack and ceasefire. And yet, beneath the wreck of a broken city and the rising death toll, there is a story of relentless hope and survival. The sheer impossibility of a normal life becomes the motive for some semblance of routine.

With a foreword by Noam Chomsky and the weight of a war behind it, The Drone Eats With Me: Diaries from a City Under Fire is an essential piece of literature, a book that should not be read lightly, but should definitely be read.

Daisy Kidd

The Drone Eats With Me is due to be published on 26 March, and follows on from The Book of Gaza: A City in Short Fiction, winner of the English Pen Award, which is a selection of Gaza-set short stories, edited by Atef and published by Comma Press in 2014.