Strangers in the House is a personal memoir in which the primary conflict is between father and son. Nevertheless, it’s suffused with the tumultuous politics of the Middle East and the Palestinian issue forms much of the fabric of the author’s relationships. This contributes to the multiple meanings of the title, which echoes the author’s feelings about his family as well as the situation in Palestine in general. Raja Shehadeh was born in the West Bank into a family of two strong, very different wills—his stately, aristocratic grandmother, always looking to the past, and his father, Aziz, full of nervous energy and barrelling toward the future. In their immediate world, British misgovernance of the areas of the Middle East under its purview had quickly lead toward violence between Jews and Arabs. Thus, Raja’s first breath was taken in a personal and political world already brimming with contention.