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Fast Times in Palestine is a searing education disguised as an irresistible travel memoir — think George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia meets Eat Pray Love in the Middle East.
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Praise for Fast Times in Palestine

“Olson seamlessly weaves her own personal journey with history, politics, and even a love story. The result is a moving, inspiring introduction to life in Palestine that’s enormously informative yet reads like a novel!” “Maybe he's just not that into you. Or maybe the reason he hasn't arrived for your date is because he's tied to a chair being interrogated for no reason other than that teenage Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint didn't like the way he looked at them. It's love in the time of Occupation as Pamela Olson, a young American woman, takes us on the emotional roller-coaster of her very personal experience of life in Ramallah -- and in doing so lays bare the human drama of a people living under the control of a state that denies them the rights of citizens. A charming book brimming with tension and tragedy, but also with the humor, warmth, everyday foibles and irrepressible hopes of a people determined to live free.”
    Tony Karon, Senior Editor, TIME
“As an Israeli whose life was shaped by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I found Fast Times in Palestine moving and refreshing. Pamela Olson comes to the Middle East with a blank slate and is therefore able to hold up an undistorted mirror to the reality she encounters. Her approach is fresh and unprejudiced, and that makes her book unique.” “Pamela Olson leads the reader on an exciting, funny, at times heart-wrenching journey, carefully deciphering complex political and historical issues. Olson is a talented writer, intelligent and exceptional in her ability to convey both tragedy and hope, remaining morally grounded and refreshingly honest.” “Olson’s masterful storytelling, imagery, and wit take the reader on a transformative journey through Palestine.” Fast Times in Palestine is part adventure story, part searing reportage, part love story, and wholly absorbing. It is written with infectious humor, dazzling verve, keen insight, and deep passion. If you want to know what everyday life is like for the Palestinian people, go to Palestine; if you can’t, read this book.”
    Dr. Kenneth Ring, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Connecticut, and co-author of Letters from Palestine
Fast Times in Palestine will open your eyes to the human story inside the political drama. Mixing humor, memoir, political intrigue, romance, and sociological commentary, Olson’s heartfelt work will change how you understand the Middle East.”
    Patricia Ryan Madson, Professor Emerita of Stanford University and author of Improv Wisdom
“Pamela Olson operates in a great tradition of American explorers, from Martha Gellhorn to Susan Meiselas to Rachel Corrie — open-minded women who have thrown off a lot of tired received wisdom about a fearful part of the world in order to see it for themselves, then brought that understanding back to their own culture. This book is a triumph of sympathy and observation.”

“There are people who prefer to say ‘yes’ and there are people who prefer to say ‘no.’ Those who say ‘yes’ are rewarded by the adventures they have, and those who say ‘no’ are rewarded by the safety they attain.”

~ Keith Johnstone, Impro

Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto.”
(I am a man: nothing human is alien to me.)

~ Terence, Heautontimoroumenos, 77

“So much political capital has been made out of the Barcelona fighting that it is important to try and get a balanced view of it. An immense amount, enough to fill many books, has already been written on the subject, and I do not suppose I should exaggerate if I said that nine-tenths of it is untruthful. Nearly all the newspaper accounts published at the time were manufactured by journalists at a distance, and were not only inaccurate in the facts but intentionally misleading. As usual, only one side of the question has been allowed to get to the wider public. Like everyone who was in Barcelona at the time, I saw only what was happening in my immediate neighborhood, but I saw and heard quite enough to be able to contradict many of the lies that have been circulated… This squalid brawl in a distant city is more important than might appear at first.”

~ George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, 1952

Created February 2008

Contact — pamolson (a) gmail