Salvation Army

Overview

An autobiographical novel by turn naïve and cunning, funny and moving, this most recent work by Moroccan expatriate Abdellah Taïa is a major addition to the new French literature emerging from the North African Arabic diaspora. Salvation Army is a coming-of-age novel that tells the story of Taïa's life with complete disclosure--from a childhood bound by family order and latent
(homo)sexual tensions in the poor city of Salé, through an adolescence in Tangier charged by the young ...

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Overview

An autobiographical novel by turn naïve and cunning, funny and moving, this most recent work by Moroccan expatriate Abdellah Taïa is a major addition to the new French literature emerging from the North African Arabic diaspora. Salvation Army is a coming-of-age novel that tells the story of Taïa's life with complete disclosure--from a childhood bound by family order and latent
(homo)sexual tensions in the poor city of Salé, through an adolescence in Tangier charged by the young writer's attraction to his eldest brother, to a disappointing arrival in the Western world to study in Geneva in adulthood. In so doing, Salvation Army manages to burn through the author's first-person singularity to embody the complex mélange of fear and desire projected by Arabs on
Western culture. Recently hailed by his native country's press as "the first Moroccan to have the courage to publicly assert his difference," Taïa, through his calmly transgressive work,
has "outed" himself as "the only gay man" in a country whose theocratic law still declares homosexuality a crime. The persistence of prejudices on all sides of the
Mediterranean and Atlantic makes the translation of Taïa's work both a literary and political event.
The arrival of Salvation Army (published in French in 2006) in English will be welcomed by an
American audience already familiar with a growing cadre of talented Arab writers working in French
(including Muhammad Dib, Assia Djebar, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Abdelkebir Khatibi, and Katib Yasin).

Semiotext(e)

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Here in the United States, it's easy to become jaded about the coming out narrative.
It can feel like a story we've read one time too many, one that has somehow become commodified,
fraught with predictability. But every once in a while a novel comes along that shatters our jaded state and renews our faith in the queer coming of age genre. Abdellah Taïa's Salvation
Army
is one such book." Alistair McCartney Lambda Report

Semiotext(e)

"In a simple and straightforward language, the author leads the reader through a journey of uncertainty and self-discovery, beyond the nuanced resonance of words and emotions.
Writing, which he discovers at an early age, involves for him a courageous and unprecedented act of exposing his country's taboos and prohibitions." Mustapha Hamil Tingus Magazine

Semiotext(e)

"Just when you thought you'd read every coming out story imaginable, a book as fresh and original as this one enlivens the genre." Noël Alumit Frontiers in LA

Semiotext(e)

"The novel is richly layered yet impressively lean, and as easily enjoyed by the pool as at a university library." Glen Helfand Bay Area Reporter

Semiotext(e)

"This straightforward story about self-discovery is a reminder that coming-of-age tales still need to be told." Richard Labonte

Semiotext(e)

Publishers Weekly

Taïa's slim and disjointed autobiographical coming-of-age story begins in poverty in Salé, Morocco, where young Abdellah reports on the impoverished town's doings. As a young adult, he falls for an older man who introduces him to Europe and the possibility of leaving home and its repressive social mores behind. But the story feels haphazard, and the narrative hinges on a string of taboo-breaking accounts of Taïa's amorous encounters, from his incestuous desire for his older brother to his troubled first love, then a threesome, then a random encounter in a public toilet. For all its frank sexuality and candor, the novel feels canned and unconvincing. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584350705
  • Publisher: Semiotexte/Smart Art
  • Publication date: 4/30/2009
  • Series: Semiotext(e) / Native Agents
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 349,540
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Abdellah Taïa (b. 1973) is the first openly gay autobiographical writer published in Morocco.
Though Moroccan, he lives in Paris. He is the author of Mon Maroc and Le rouge du tarbouche, both translated into Dutch and Spanish, and Salvation Army
(published by Semiotext(e) in English in 2009). He also appeared in Rémi Lange's 2004 film
Tarik el Hob (released in English as The Road to Love).
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