In Brief: A Stone House with Windows

By Donn Hutchison. Self-published, 2021. 130 pages. $9/paperback; $5/eBook.

This novel by Donn Hutchison is about a girl whose dream was to live in a stone house with windows. During her entire married life she lived with her husband and children in a shack with an earthen roof, dirt floors, and one door, but no windows. This is a glimpse of what it is like to be a woman, a wife, a mother, a sister, a mother-in-law, a daughter-in law, living in a community in transition; while the 400 years of Ottoman rule comes to an end. It was a period of time in Palestinian history where women had no rights and were defined always in their relationship to a man: she was some man’s daughter, some man’s wife, or some man’s mother. Her name was always prefaced by her relationship to man, as though she had no name of her own. It is a story based on what Dr. Jirius Mansur wrote about his early life, and the individuals who molded him into the man he became, including the early American missionaries who influenced his concept of self and dictated how he would need to change if he was ever to succeed. It is the story of being caught between the peasant world of which he was a part, and the Western world he wished to join, and consequently he was never completely of either.

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