You Exist Too Much
Zaina Arafat (Author)
June 09, 2020
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About the Author
Zaina Arafat is a LGBTQ Palestinian-American writer based in Brooklyn. Her debut novel, You Exist Too Much, was selected as an Indie Next Pick for June, and has been praised by O Oprah Magazine, Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, NPR, LitHub and Good Morning America. Her stories and essays have appeared in publications including Granta, The New York Times, The Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, VICE, BuzzFeed, Guernica and The Atlantic. She holds an MFA from Iowa and an MA from Columbia, and was awarded the 2018 Arab Women/Migrants from the Middle East fellowship from Jack Jones Literary Arts. She teaches writing at Long Island University and the School of the New York Times, and is currently working on an essay collection.
At once complicated and engaging, this is the kind of debut novel that announces the arrival of a powerful new author who, besides writing beautifully, has a lot to say. --Gabino Iglesias, NPR This story about love, identity, gender and family is brilliantly written and questions the effects of maternal love. --Good Morning America [A] provocative and seductive debut . . . Novels like these don't exist enough. ―O, The Oprah Magazine Her novel is an unlimited space for those whose identities have always been too uncomfortable for society . . . When being a queer Muslim seems too complex for the world to handle, You Exist Too Much is a testimony as otherwise. There is nothing more of an attestation to our narratives than an LGBTQ Muslim author with a bisexual Palestinian-American main character. --Zainab Almatwari, Teen Vogue Thankfully we have moved beyond tedious questions about the 'likability' of fictional women, because the most interesting characters rarely are at all times. Arafat's heroine is no exception, but the author writes her with great tenderness and just enough self-aware dark humor to allow readers to become invested in this young woman's efforts to make herself whole. --Erin Keane, Salon As a narrative with an insistence on revisiting ruptures in memory, and unpacking the trauma therein, Arafat's novel is a direct resistance to pinkwashing and other homo-nationalistic ideologies, one that centers Palestinian memory and generously unpacks the underlying sociopolitical contexts of Palestinian society for non-Palestinian readers. --George Abraham, Public Books You Exist Too Much gets desire at a deep level: where it comes from, how it pushes and tugs, and how it's virtually never just about who it's about. As the narrator pinballs from one disastrous affair to the next, we get more than the chronicle of a young full-blown love addict, but a keen study in how our wants are bound to place, race, gender, religion, psychology, and family. Zaina Arafat speaks for the persistently hungry. ―Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens What a breath of fresh air! Zaina Arafat takes a familiar figure―the restless, womanizing narrator of many a canonical novel―and reimagines it to mordant and delightful effect. Her queer, Palestinian American, love-addict protagonist is pining mostly for a sense of belonging and purpose. She's a deeply relatable character who beautifully conveys the anguish of trying to figure out a life between categories of various kinds. You Exist Too Much is a moving, irreverent, darkly entertaining novel about the agony of family, the mysteries of romantic love, and the painful work of learning where we stop and others begin. Arafat is a true original. ―Nina Renata Aron, author of Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls