Sara woke before the azaan and lay quietly in the dark spooning with Farooq, his arm draped over her swollen belly, their phands clasped. The baby kicked. Well hello to you too.

Last year I had cancer. Receiving the diagnosis was the worst experience of my life, but after the shock subsided, the six months of my illness became a kind of utopia.

I’m in an aeroplane, about as far from ‘nature’ as it’s possible for an ordinary person to get: 30,000 feet above the earth, breathing recycled air in a giant plastic and metal sheath. I’m not even flying to Palestine, but Lebanon – but where are Palestine’s borders?

To me the novel is a magnificent form, and the greatest of challenges for a writer because it encompasses all aspects of human existence: feeling, thought, sensation, intuition, the lyric epiphany and the inexorable epic all fall within its compass.

Out of It is an ingeniously plotted, lyrical novel, equally at home with email and ancient Umayyad verse, and attentive to the poetic resonance of the most mundane scenarios. Its existence is testament to the extraordinary resistance of the Palestinians to their planned annihilation.