A revealing and provocative novel about being queer in war-torn Iraq of 2003. It is the story of two men: one, a young gay Muslim named Ramy, whose parents have died, and who struggles to find a balance between his sexuality, religion, and culture, while his brother seeks to find him a wife. The other is Ammar, a sheikh at a local mosque whose guidance Ramy seeks, and whose homophobic beliefs are based on the Qur’an and the teachings of Islam. Ammar initially refuses to help Ramy until Angel Gabriel intrudes upon his world, throwing Ammar’s own beliefs and morals in a turbulence.
According to our research, this is the first novel about a gay Muslim in the Middle East, which is sure to raise some eyebrows. There was Salvation Army by Abdellah Taïa, but that was set in Morocco.
This is Hasan Abood’s first novel; at the age of 28, he reminds us a lot of Raziel Reid, the 24-year-old debut novelist whose first book When Everything Feels like the Movies won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2014 (published in the US in Spring 2015).
One of two gay fiction titles this fall (the other being Mouthquake).