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Exiles in America

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  178 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Zack Knowles, a psychologist, and Daniel Wexler, an art teacher at a college in Virginia, have been together for twenty-one years. In the fall of 2002, a few months before the Iraq War, a new artist in residence, Abbas Rohani, arrives with his Russian wife, Elena, and their two children. But Abbas is not quite what he seems, and he begins an affair with Daniel. Soon politi ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 13th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published 2006)
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Feb 09, 2010 Skip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love when literature moves me to think about relationships or getting older or even people who may not sound and look like me.
You get all of this "Exiles in America."
I thought it was interesting how the story took a turn down the sort of National Security Road near the end. I was thinking, okay , where is this going....?

But lots of complex characters who were not always likable or easy to understand.... Sort of like our friends.

I plan to read more of Christopher Bram. (Just wish my public
Jun 22, 2011 Jing rated it it was ok
This book was mediocre for me. It was still a pleasant read and I finished the novel, but it's not a book I would buy or read again. Bram explores the meaning of marriage, amongst that of a gay couple in an open relationship, and that of a straight couple with two kids. While he also interjects the interplay of being from the Middle East in the aftermath of 9/11, I think he reaches too far out and expects things to happen that don't seem likely. The characters are wonderfully depicted, but I was ...more
Mar 15, 2007 Karl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bram is a good writer, and this book is timely and a good read. Especially is you're sceptical about Buswh and the "war on terror."
Sep 02, 2009 Grady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Open Marriages: Stabilities and Consequences

That Christopher Bram is one of our finer novelists today is a given (The Notorious Dr. August: His Real Life and Crimes, Gods and Monsters, Life of the Circus Animals, In Memory of Angel Clare, etc). EXILES IN AMERICA is a very astutely constructed novel, one that explores the concept of displaced persons, whether those persons be gay men in a straight homophobic town, artists in a world of grounded minds, immigrant visitors in the land of the free, o
The book is rich in dialogue and characterization and it explores two worlds, universities and professional psychiatry, that I find really fascinating. Even the premise -- one half of a gay couple in an open marriage takes up with a married man and both couples end up involved (not sexually) with each other -- is plausible and well worth exploring.

But Bram really seemed to be reaching to make a whole bunch of points about America in the wake of 9/11 and our treatment of immigrants, especially t
Sep 07, 2008 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fine book, well-crafted and sensitive. The characters are those slightly-idealized versions of real people that only fiction can present; they are models to which we can compare ourselves. Which is, ultimately, what this book is about: it's about us. It asks us--explicitly at last, in the final few pages--to look inward at ourselves, at our own lives, and loves, and desires, and to judge ourselves fairly and honestly. I get the feeling that readers of this book will all see it slightly differe ...more
The Rainbow Zebra
Mar 15, 2015 The Rainbow Zebra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: GLBT, Muslim, Art, Politics, psychiatry
I picked up this book from my library solely because it was one of the few books I found on a search for GLBT fiction. I was not disappointed.

We are introduced to two couples: Zach and Daniel, a gay couple, and Abbas and Elena, the "exiles in America". Both share an open marriage that at times offers pleasure, but slowly causes friction for all involved. It is set in post-9/11 America, and the story dramatically comes to a head because Abbas is Muslim.

This is the first M/M book I've read, and wh
Jan 13, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bram has written another excellent novel here. The best parts focus on the relationship issues (sexual and otherwise) and the inner workings of the characters' lives. One of Bram's strengths is his ability to create well-developed characters who can be so disparate from each other. It would be interesting to see how other readers reacted to the story, as I imagine there could be a wide variety of opinion based on which (or which combination) of the main characters they most sympathized with.

Feb 15, 2010 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book as it's about a gay couple that I could relate to on several levels, and several not, but that is where learning happens. And I did learn more about gay relationships, our government's interference in our lives, and how lucky we are to be as free as we are in America...for the time being anyway.
I would recommend the book to any gay person and any open-minded others.
I liked the author's treatment of the couple at the end, presenting the problems directly to the reader and causin
Aug 13, 2009 Zweegas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
These characters just do not know when to shut the hell up and leave well-enough alone. They just go on and on and on about their own personal crap, every little angle popping into their minds that no one cares about reveling in their own selfishness / martyrdom until they inevitably say something hurtful and drama ensues. Stupid stupid drama.

Most of the book is stupid stupid drama and minutae brain-turds from the four main characters. The only good part about the story involves the Patriot act
Michael Martin
May 26, 2016 Michael Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best novelists writing today. Ranks with his best work.
Jun 23, 2011 Elana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was okay. I really wanted to like this book, and trudged through it hoping it would get better. But, in the end, it was just okay.

There's a lot potential here - thoughts about marriage, relationships, sexuality, identity, race, ethnicity...etc.,etc. But, the writing is just so-so and the story line is all over the place, to the point of being less than believable. Yes, it's fiction, but it's supposed to be representing or reflecting a bit of reality...which it does not do effectively, IMHO.
Jul 01, 2008 Dolphe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alternative
Here's an unusual study of relationships. A gay couple in an open relationship; a Muslim man and wife in an open relationship. It's a well-paced read and asks a lot of interesting questions about love, jealousy, revenge and bigotry. I was thrown for a loop in one of the final chapters; however, when the author offers a off-side tirade seemingly defending his characters. Was this an editor's note that was printed by mistake? Very odd.
This book about two couples in open relationships has some fodder for some exploration of jealousy and commitment but it lacks depth, so it reads more like a soap opera. I did not finish the book and heard that the second half gets to be absurd with a political situation and an FBI investigation. Don't bother with this one or if you're feeling really frisky just skip to the sex scenes!
May 17, 2008 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this author (and was happy when I traded for this book and it was hardcover AND signed!) But the last 1 1/3 chapters spoils this from a 5 star to a 4 star. It's a great book about an Iranian art professor and his and his family's realationships with a gay couple in the US. As the Iraq war blossoms all changes. Good but the silly ending keeps it from being great.
Jason Alvey
Oct 17, 2014 Jason Alvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bram has constructed a fascinating story of a very believable couple, and I was surprised to find I cared so much about Zack & Daniel. Interesting reading it so far down the line from Bush's illegal war, and I loved the questions raised (and largely left out there) about God and country. I won't spoil the ending but it sadly annoyed me immensely.
Mar 18, 2010 Rod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
>u/u< by Christopher Bram. I am really hooked on this writer. He creates wonderful well rounded honest but sympathetic characters. He is a great story teller. This is a story I have not heard before, and recommend it.
Nov 14, 2010 Dorothea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story, full of emotional conflict, politics, and reflection on what it is like to be gay or foreign or Muslim or all three in America. A little heavy on explicit sex for my taste, but worth reading.
Ariel Kestenbaum
I loved the ending of this book because, unlike others in its genre, it doesn't have a happy ending, but also doesn't have a maudlin unhappy ending. It's a neutral ending.
Mar 01, 2008 Ada rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really did not like this book. The only reason I got through it was because of an incredibly long flight delay over Christmas holiday.
Jamie O'Brien
Feb 01, 2008 Jamie O'Brien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good exploration of marriage, good relationship examination, lots of gay sex! Good book, but not something I just "couldn't put down."
Tanya b
Feb 18, 2012 Tanya b rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: left-unfinished
my heart wasn't into it as it involved couples with open marriages and jealousy. It made me sad. Had to put it down.
Jan 16, 2013 Gregory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK, these people are completely crazy, but the book pretty much captivated me from beginning to end.
Paul Wilson
This book has issues. Just odd. And depressing, but not in a powerful, good novel kind of way.
May 01, 2008 Liz rated it it was ok
Gay politics. Post-9/11 race politics. Meh.
Damian Serbu
Not my cup of tea.
Elizabeth marked it as to-read
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Bram grew up in Kempsville, Virginia. After graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1974 (B.A. in English), he moved to New York City four years later. There, he met his lifelong partner, documentary filmmaker Draper Shreeve.

Bram's novel Father of Frankenstein, about film director James Whale, was made into the movie Gods and Monsters starring Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser. Bill Condo
More about Christopher Bram...

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