Dieckmann, born in 1957, makes her U.S. book debut with this novel of prison camp survival: like Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, it tracks its protagonist through routinized torture intended to crush the prisoner's psyche. Rashid Bakhrani, a 20-year-old German born of an Indian Muslim parent, is caught by raiding soldiers in an anti-American demonstration in Peshawar. He is flown "home"-to the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Bored and scared by turns, Rashid still hopes he can explain his arrest is a mistake before being drawn into the interrogation process, where he is subject to beatings, sensory disorientation and humiliation. Rashid's American captors have created a complete and fictitious profile for him: to them, Rashid is not a curious tourist but a jihadist connected to a Hamburg cell with plans to attack Americans. Rashid soon tells his captors what they want to hear, and then begins to take on his fictitious identity. Dieckmann makes no authorial comments about Rashid's ordeal: she simply seals the reader, like Rashid, in the camp's claustrophobic horror. Unlike Solzhenitsyn's novel, there is no sense of a great ideological chasms being opened up, but Dieckmann's close focus pays off, like a blow to the head. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Guantanamo: A Novelby Dorothea Dieckmann, Daniel Slager (Translator), Tim Mohr (Translator)
At the beginning of the Afghan war, young Rashid, born in Hamburg to an Indian father and a German mother, travels to India to claim an inheritance. There, he befriends a young Afghan and continues his journey to Peshawar, where he ends up in the middle of an anti-American demonstration. He is arrested, handed over to the Americans, and taken to the notorious
At the beginning of the Afghan war, young Rashid, born in Hamburg to an Indian father and a German mother, travels to India to claim an inheritance. There, he befriends a young Afghan and continues his journey to Peshawar, where he ends up in the middle of an anti-American demonstration. He is arrested, handed over to the Americans, and taken to the notorious Guantanamo.
What ensues is a remarkable literary experiment, a novel based on meticulous research. In six scenes, it describes Rashid’s life at the camp. Sensitive yet utterly unsentimental, the novel explores the existential consequences of isolation, suppression, and uncertainty paralyzing fear, psychotic delusions, manic identification with fellow prisoners, and ultimately, resignation. Written with fierce moral clarity and a remarkable economy of expression, Guantanamo functions as both a political statement and a fascinating examination of the prisoner/jailer relationship.
- Soft Skull Press, Inc.
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)
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