A heartrending account of the suffering of Palestinians under occupation. Lynch has not only covered the big events but also lived in the West Bank, witnessing up close Israeli raids, checkpoint lines and agitated soldiers and the privations created by Israel's 250-mile-long security wall. He impressively and seamlessly combines storytelling with reportage and fact-finding.
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly (USA)
A Publishers Weekly “starred review indicates a book of outstanding quality”.
Written from a journalistic perspective, and packed with many fresh and original insights about the people behind the conflict. A Divided Paradise is an endlessly entertaining delve into a serious issue.
Margaret Lane, Midwest Book Review (USA)
Powerful read...For most of us the Middle East is far away, not just geographically but intellectually and emotionally as well. David Lynch’s book brings that centre of injustice close to home in a series of you-are-there reports. The book moves easily from such close-ups of life to a catalogue of facts showing the injustice….. The Israeli perspective is considered in detail….all these matters and more are addressed, not just through facts and statistics, but with sweaty, surviving-another-day scramble that is life for tens of thousands of Palestinians.
Jude Collins, Andersonstown News
Captures the tension and beauty of a partitioned paradise. Lynch is studiously fair in mapping out the tragedy of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, of how it came to be and of how difficult it is to build the lasting trust which will enable peace to prevail. On this basis, he makes useful parallels with the Northern Ireland conflict and the way in which a confrontation of mutual exclusives managed, after great effort, to find a liveable compromise in the shape of the Belfast Agreement. It certainly catches the atmosphere very well: the barren but beautiful landscape; the tension; the endless roadblocks. Lynch vividly describes the sudden terror of being under attack during a riot at Bil’in, and also quotes some Palestinians questioning the point of such rioting. It is an honest and inquiring account, and he travels not only to refugee camps in Lebanon but also to poorer towns of working class Israelis.
Eamon Delaney, The Irish Times
There will be a vast number of books published about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year, as there is every year. Not too many of them, though, are likely to contain any anecdotes about the only Irish bar in the world that doesn’t serve Guinness, a near empty room on the outskirts of the West Bank town of Ramallah..... (Lynch is a ) writer with a sharp eye for small details his description of street life in Jaffa is one of the highlights of the book... Continuously wrestling with the never-ending contradictions of the region, he finds himself in some unaccountably bizarre situations. He holds a door open for a female student at his West Bank university who is so shocked by his chivalry that she stands rooted to the spot, resulting in a weird stand-off which ends with him accidentally slamming the door against his own foot. On another occasion, as he prepares to head off to an Israeli protest against the removal of the settlers from Gaza, a religious Jew asks him about the strength of the Christian Zionist movement in Ireland. Pricelessly, Lynch is left with no option but to answer ‘‘weak’’, in a guilty manner.... As a reporter, Lynch is commendably diligent, and certainly knows where the action is - he spends half the book travelling around to various trouble spots and flashpoints
Jonathan O'Brien, The Sunday Business Post
An excellent collection of memories intertwined with political analyses and history. With a fresh and very accessible narrative, Lynch has enriched the literature available on the Arab–Israeli conflict.This is a book for the occasional reader as well as for students of politics and history that avoids simplifications but simplifies somewhat an overwhelmingly complex situation.
Digest of Middle East Studies, (Fall, 2010).
It draws on his experience to create a solid and engaging account of the human aspect of a political conflict spanning decades. The book combines personal experiences, anecdotal evidence and acute insight and analysis on life under occupation in Palestine. It is undeniably well informed. Lynch’s style is both conversational and provocative, allowing him to describe the traumatic and violent events like protests with an admirable objectivity. It is a searingly honest account…we get a vivid sense of the area and its diverse inhabitants. Lynch is clearly trying to do justice to the stories of the people he met, stories which personalize a highly complex political and military conflict. Lynch manages to give us an objective view of an extremely complex and volatile situation lacking any condescending, writerly tone.
Rebecca Long, Trinity News
His brilliant book is a collection of memories over various periods travelling throughout the Holy Land from 2005, to the summer of 2008…In a quiet easily digestible, yet not overly simplistic way, the complex political history and currently situation of probably the most controversial conflict in the world is laid out. I specifically found his insights into the various factions of Israeli politics extremely interesting. This was done not in a text book manner, but in an extremely engaging and enjoyable way. Throughout the book there is a real affinity with the Palestinian people…The dialogue puts a real human touch to the conflict… A Divided Paradise is a well written and enjoyable read. David Lynch’s approach and personal accounts are excellent, making a complex political reality that little bit easier to consume. 4/5
At no time is the Holy Land and the events there, historic and present, ever very far from the minds of most Christians. Author David Lynch is an experienced award winning journalist with a special interest in radical politics and the Middle East...In this book he tries to give the reader a street level view of daily life of two societies that see themselves as under siege. The mutual misunderstandings seem as far from resolution as ever...What he brings across in these travels from the international style of Tel-Aviv, where the state of Israel was founded in 1948, to the villages of Palestinian West Bank, is the sheer variety of life. There is even, as he records, an Irish pub...This book provides a deeply felt Irish perspective on the Holy Land.
Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic
Lynch writes with truth and energy.
North Belfast News
Journalist Lynch mixes memoir, anecdotal evidence, traditional reportage, and historical and political analysis in order to unravel the complexities of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Book News (USA)
"Unlike many who report on the Palestinian people, Irish journalist Lynch actually lived on the West Bank for a time, attending classes and reporting on the occupation, and (again, unlike many) he never loses site of the humanity of either side of the conflict. An important addition to the many memoirs of kibbutz living, etc, that can be found scattered about the book store (and nicely written, to boot!)."
American-Israeli Journalist Emily L. Hauser –author of In My Head blog (USA)
He evokes very well the daily toil and terror…The book is a very useful introduction, complete with timeline and glossary....."
‘Book of the Week', Metro