In Gaza City, 1988, a sensitive, observant girl finds her voice - and the strength to move beyond the violence that surrounds her. I am Malaak Abed Atieh, and this bird is Abdo. . . . I live in Abdo's eyes. . . . I fly high, high above Gaza City. . . . Nothing stops me - not the concrete and razor wire, not the guns, not the soldiers. I stare at them with my hard black Abdo eyes, and they do not shoot me. I am hidden. It has been a month since eleven-year-old Malaak's beloved father left Gaza City to look for work in Israel, only to disappear. Every day she climbs up to the roof and waits for him, imagining that she can fly to the prison cell where she is sure he waits. She speaks little to anyone, referring to commune with the loyal little bird she has tamed. Malaak's brother, Hamid, has his own way of coping. The volatile twelve-year-old feels only anger, stoked by militant extremists who preach violence as the only way to change their fate. Malaak's mother and sister beg the boy to stay away from harm, but now Malaak lives in fear: is she destined to lose her only brother as well?
Cathryn Clinton received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Iowa and her master of fine arts degree from Vermont College. Her first novel, THE CALLING, was published in 2001. AboutA STONE IN MY HAND she says, "While in graduate school in 1998 I had a writing assignment: choose a picture of someone and write about that person. In an article about Gaza in National Geographic, I saw a picture of a young Palestinian girl holding a bird in her hand. There was a look of strength in her face. This intrigued me, and I wondered how this girl had survived both internally and externally when the conditions of her growing up years were so harsh. So I sat down and began writing the story of Malaak."