Love Is an Ex-Country

Available

Product Details

Price
$26.00  $23.92
Publisher
Catapult
Publish Date
Pages
240
Dimensions
5.7 X 8.3 X 1.0 inches | 0.87 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781948226585

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About the Author

Randa Jarrar is the author of the novel A Map of Home and the collection of stories Him, Me, Muhammad Ali. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Salon, Bitch, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of a Creative Capital Award and an American Book Award, as well as awards and fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, Hedgebrook, PEN, and others. A professor of creative writing and a performer, Jarrar lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews

An O, The Oprah Magazine LGBTQ Book That Will Change the Literary Landscape Next Year
A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year
A Library Journal Title to Watch

Jarrar is a propulsive writer and the pieces amassed here are chaotic and exuberant, defiant and introspective . . . Some essays retell events we've already read as if for the first time; some end with disorienting abruptness . . . Together, their effect is impressionistic but forceful, retracing the biography of a body whose identity and dignity have often been contested: Palestinian, fat, desirous and desired, once a site of violence and grief, now a site of pleasure and pride. --Jordan Kisner, The New York Times Book Review

Through the lens of a transformative cross-country road trip from California to Connecticut, Jarrar recounts her lifelong hunger for liberation from the forces of domestic violence, doxxing, and systemic racism . . . This visceral, unforgettable memoir is Jarrar's barbaric yawp, asserting her triumphant choice to live joyfully in a hostile world. --Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire, A Best Book of the Year

Step aside, Jack Kerouac: When it comes to great American road trip stories, we're letting fat, queer, Muslim-Arab single mothers drive the car . . . Love Is an Ex-Country follows the author on her 2016 journey from California to her parents' house in Connecticut, complete with pit stops to destroy wayward Confederate flags and reflect on traumatic childhood memories. The result is at once a scathing critique of American culture and a joyful celebration of life. --Keely Weiss, Harper's Bazaar, A Best LGBT Book of the Year

Love Is an Ex-Country is not a road trip memoir so much as a profound meditation on race, borders, abuse, and above all, bodies. Everything is seen, felt, experienced through the lens of the body, and the reader will feel it in theirs, too. --Sarah Neilson, Shondaland

Jarrar, a single mother who was born in America but raised in Egypt for a spell, brings a fresh, critical perspective to the road narrative genre, which is largely dominated by white men. In the backyard of America, the proudly fat, queer, Muslim and Arab American protagonist dredges up personal demons she triumphed over, and unaired grievances from America's checkered past. --Connor Godwin, The Seattle Times

Funny, fierce, and full of joy and pain, Randa Jarrar's memoir chronicles her 2016 road trip across America, as she drives from her home in California to her parents' home in Connecticut. Her encounters along the way--from Tinder hookups to encounters with racist truck-drivers--serve as catalysts for Jarrar to explore everything from her identity as a queer Palestinian-American to her experiences with domestic violence and bigotry. There is catharsis in reading Jarrar's words, they feel alternately like howls and whispers, an impassioned, necessary response to what it means to live in America today. --Kristin Iversen, Refinery29, One of the Best New Books of the Year

Jarrar's story is most strikingly about the liberating power of joy and emerging triumphant after so much grief--including the Palestinian wound of displacement she carries in her body. She then blazes forth to make her Palestinian Egyptian body at home in a land that tries to marginalize and silence her at every turn. Every page is burnished with a fearless love that readers can't help but feel in their bones, written as these essays are from the depths of her 'happy fat Arab heart.'" --Madhuri Sastry, Bitch

Egyptian, Palestinian, and American writer Randa Jarrar's memoir is framed through the story of a road trip she took ahead of the 2016 election, inspired by Egyptian dancer and actress Tahia Carioca. Hers is at once an American story and the story of the Palestinian diaspora. Jarrar writes about heavy topics--domestic assault, detainment in Israel, doxxing, and more--yet her writing remains infused with joy and survival. --Alma, A Favorite Book for Winter

Jarrar [positions] herself both as a critic and as a participant in the conversation about which stories, and whose, receive exposure. It's a vivid and necessary point of view. --David L. Ulin, Alta

[Through] her intimate look at how she's moved past abuse, Jarrar stakes out a radical approach to self and citizenship, one that hinges not on someone else's approving judgment but on her own self-love . . . Reimagining citizenship as beyond the reach of hostile judges isn't a new idea. Indigenous and Black writers, especially, have been doing it for centuries. But Jarrar takes this kind of reimagining to new places by keenly chronicling the everyday ways that the unhealed wounds of abuse can bind even her most mundane bodily movements as an Egyptian, Palestinian, queer, fat, femme, Muslim, Arab American. -- Leila Mansouri, The Believer

The Arab American academic and cultural provocateur Randa Jarrar was never going to simply drive around America taking in the usual sights. Instead she uses the opportunity to explore her identity and the hurt she's experienced as a queer, Muslim, plus-size woman in an empire ruled over by Trump. The result is a thrilling, tender roar of a read about aching to be safe and seen . . . Jarrar refuses to play the role of serene victim, instead she writes with fierce candor, shining a light on the unsettling complexities of oppression and reiterating how the most pernicious of abuses can hide out in the established norms of mainstream society. --Olivia Edward, Geographical Magazine

Inspired by Egyptian dancer and actress Tahia Carioca's 1946 road trip, and with her son now an adult and a sabbatical ahead of her, Jarrar, a writer and professor of creative writing, leads us on a path to sex dungeons, prisons, and the home in Connecticut that shaped much of her youth. Set during the vortex that was the Trump years, we follow Jarrar's unruly body as she defies bans and borders and reflects on a lifetime of displacement, trauma, and love. It's a wild ride. --Bani Amor, AFAR