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The Angel of History

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

“There are many ways to break someone’s heart, but Rabih Alameddine is one rare writer who not only breaks our hearts but gives every broken piece a new life.”—Yiyun Li

Following the critical and commercial success of An Unnecessary Woman, Alameddine delivers a spectacular portrait of a man and an era of profound political and social upheaval.

Set over the course of one night in the waiting room of a psych clinic, The Angel of History follows Yemeni-born poet Jacob as he revisits the events of his life, from his maternal upbringing in an Egyptian whorehouse to his adolescence under the aegis of his wealthy father and his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of AIDS. Hovered over by the presence of alluring, sassy Satan who taunts Jacob to remember his painful past and dour, frigid Death who urges him to forget and give up on life, Jacob is also attended to by 14 saints. Set in Cairo and Beirut; Sana'a, Stockholm, and San Francisco; Alameddine gives us a charged philosophical portrait of a brilliant mind in crisis. This is a profound, philosophical and hilariously winning story of the war between memory and oblivion we wrestle with every day of our lives.

“Rabih Alameddine is one our most daring writers—daring not in the cheap sense of lurid or racy, but as a surgeon, a philosopher, an explorer, or a dancer.”—Michael Chabon

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 08, 2016 – Alameddine's novel (following National Book Award finalist An Unnecessary Woman) is the inner monologue of Jacob, a poet in crisis, as he checks himself into a mental institution for a long weekend, leaving his beloved cat, Behemoth, in the care of a friend. Jacob was born in Yemen to a Lebanese father and Yemeni mother, raised in a Cairo brothel, educated by French Catholics, and lived as a gay Arab expatriate in San Francisco at the height of the AIDS epidemic an American who insists he doesn't "do Middle East conversations" and loathes the "poetry of nostalgia" but in whom the complicated experience of migration reverberates. Now interrogated by the specters of Satan and Death, who bring a host of saints to testify on Jacob's behalf, he spills his history the lovers who have come before, and his initiation in the queer subculture, maturation as a poet, and deep engagement with literature until it intersects with global history: the rise of al-Qaeda and wars political and personal, all playing out while Jacob sits in a hospital waiting room, wondering if he'll ever be called in. It's not really his sanity, but his identity as a poet, an Arab, and a gay man that hangs in the balance. The novel takes a nonlinear approach that is occasionally messy, but Alameddine brilliantly captures Jacob's mind as it leaps between memory and the present.

Customer Reviews

Couldn't stop reading

I am amazed that a novel that takes on the AIDS epidemic, drone warfare and anti-Arabic oppression can also make me laugh and turn me on. Great writing! I heard the author talking on the radio about this book and immediately bought it, intrigued by the idea of Satan as the defender of memory and history arguing with Death, the champion of forgetting and letting go. Loved every page!

The Angel of History
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  • $17.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Oct 04, 2016
  • Publisher: Grove Atlantic
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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