Book Review: Blood Orange

Book Review: Blood Orange March 18, 2024

There’s a book I’ve wanted to read for a while: Blood Orange, by Yaffa AS. Just read the summary and you will know why.

  • Format: 65 pages, Paperback.
  • Published: November 13, 2023, by Meraj Publishing.

“Blood Orange” is a highly emotional, important and timely poetry collection by Mx. Yaffa (They/She), a trans Muslim displaced Indigenous Palestinian. Their writings probe the yearning for home, belonging, mental health, queerness, transness, and other dimensions of marginalization while nurturing dreams of utopia against the background of ongoing displacement and genocide of indigenous Palestinians.

Yaffa has a way with words that, if they are simple, is just so the message is clearer. They don’t use obscure terms to look intelligent and profound. They are already, and just care about people actually knowing what they’re talking about. That’s one of the main beauties of his poetry, how direct, yet artistic, their hand can be.

Although crude and full of blood, tears, and despair, Blood Orange also has hope, dreams, and joy. It’s a complicated book with complicated feelings that describe what it is like to be Palestinian Falastin, and neuro-divergent, and queer, and diaspora. It lays bare all those experiences, all that pain, all that joy, creating a colorful tapestry that shows Yaffa’s and Palestine’s reality, a reality that is far from perfect, but celebrates life in the middle of genocide.

However, it is graphic. A book that shares this type of content cannot conceal or sugarcoat in any decent way the part that we abhor, that a whole culture is being massacred in front of millions, but still fighting back in any way they can. Each poems shows some part of it, some pain or celebration, some memories and hopes, but also the nightmares and trauma.

I do wish it had been a longer, more extensive book, but due to its nature I understand that it can be short. And it works marvelously this way. Blood Orange is that type of reading that you devour but stays with you after finishing it, a reading that shows and tells you more than you expect in short spaces and few words. That’s Yaffa’s main power as a writer, and I can’t wait to have more of it.

About Bader Saab
I’m an Arab witch and journalist, also with a master’s degree in digital research. I have worked as a book reviewer and written about pre-Islamic folklore. You can connect with me by Private Message on Instagram: @saab.bader. You can read more about the author here.

Browse Our Archives