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God in Pink

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  670 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Lambda Literary Award finalist

A revelatory novel about being queer and Muslim, set in war-torn Iraq in 2003. Ramy is a young gay Iraqi struggling to find a balance between his sexuality, religion, and culture. Ammar is a sheikh whose guidance Ramy seeks, and whose tolerance is tested by his belief in the teachings of the Qur'an. Full of quiet moments of beauty and raw depi
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 17th 2015 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published October 13th 2015)
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Varshita Hasan, I picked this one up from the SFU library where it was on display under "Top Picks". Needless to say, I really enjoyed your book. The character…moreHasan, I picked this one up from the SFU library where it was on display under "Top Picks". Needless to say, I really enjoyed your book. The characters and their struggles felt so real, no wonder empathizing with them came like second nature. I will be thrilled to read your second novel. Good luck!(less)
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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 ·  670 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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lark benobi
In my life I've had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with queer, trans, and other-oriented youth, many of whom have had a difficult time at home or in school. I think this book would be a marvelous read for them. It reads like a YA book, a book aimed at young people who don't feel comfortable reading Literature with a capital L. It deals in a straightforward way with the worst things that can happen when a young person comes out to a family whose religion defines being gay as being a sinne ...more
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sexuality, novella
I am glad that there is a novel circulating in the queer community that intersects with Islam. It is important and needed particularly in light of Orlando.

However, the writing wasn't good. The storyline was choppy. The author bounced from a lover horrifically committing suicide in front of him, to him finding interest in someone else. It isn't realistic. If your partner shoots themselves in the head in front of you, I can't imagine not being traumatized and needing serious emotional help. When a
28th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalist - Gay Fiction

Homosexuality in Islam is a difficult topic. It HAS to be tragic, if the characters live in a strongly Muslim country. While reviewing such a book, it is difficult to separate myself from the political and religious matters and to focus only on the writing style and MCs.

Paragraph 175 (known formally as §175 StGB; also known as Section 175 in English) was a provision of the German Criminal Code from 15 May 1871 to 10 March 1994.
Book Riot Community
I think I only read one book this month due to moving, so it’s probably a good thing that I enjoyed the book. God in Pink was a sometimes brutal but also sometimes sweet (or bittersweet, given the topic at hand) account of a young, gay Iraqi man who wants nothing less than to get married off to a woman–unfortunately, that’s what is slated to happen, since he can’t be openly gay. Heartbreaking. — Susie Rodarme

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Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This felt a bit like the outline of a book, but what was there was well done. It felt like all the development of the characters and their relationships could've been done more in-depth, with more scenes of everyone interacting so we could see changes happening. But with the spare scenes the author shows, he does a nice job showing the sheik's confusion and inner turmoil over being asked to help a gay man, Ramy's conflicts over whether or not to marry one of the women his brother picks, and the ...more
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing and insightful book about the plight of gays in Iraq, with both political and religious prejudice wrecking havoc in their lives. The story was interesting and heartfelt, but I wasn't crazy about the magic realism elements, and the thin book felt like it could/should have been developed a bit more...but really more of a 3.5 rating.
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful addition to my year of Queer reading for 2017. The God in Pink is the story of Ramy, w young homosexual in Iraq in 2003. It's so heartbreaking to know that so much of the world is still so deeply homophobic (my country included.) The prose in the story is spare and powerful and tells a story about love and coming out and acceptance in a religious society.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New Hope

A beautiful book that sparks in the darkness, shedding a little bit of light to the unknown. I really hope change happens in those parts of the world where these topics are forbidden.
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it
It had the potential to be so much more than it was. A good story though. Glad I read it.
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What is it like to be Muslim and queer in a country like Iraq where homosexuality does not even officially exist? What do you do as a young man when you feel you are attracted to other people of the same sex, yet your religion condemns such feelings? For Ramy this is everyday reality. Well enough he has witnessed the bloodcurdling consequences of other gay men coming out. Caught in perpetual struggle between his own sexuality and the expectations set upon him by his brother and society he beseec ...more
Dec 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
This is a sketch of a book that could be very good. Who wouldn't want to read about being a young gay man in post American invasion Iraq? How is that the same and how is it different from what we experience in North America? Family loyalty, a hostile religion, the intersection of orientation and gender expression, and the private and social space for being gay and having friends and lovers. From the texture of daily life, the routine of home life and socializing, food and music and worship; the ...more
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The longer I sit with this book, the more it's sinking in. I knew that I loved it when I finished, but the more I think about it, the more important a work it feels.

It's not a long book, but there's a lot to take in. There are so many themes that are well-explored, but without extraneous text. Religion and homosexuality are obvious themes, but more universally it tackles shame, vulnerability, misplaced trust, and the feeling of being an outsider. Despite being a culture with which I am not intim
Matthew White Ellis
Dec 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
I appreciate the author for taking on such a difficult subject matter... However, I can't appreciate the writing.

The writing tells more than shows. There's no room left for interpretation. I didn't need to be told when there was sarcasm, I could already hear it in the voice in my head. I didn't need to be told that Rammy was crying out in fear and frustration, that was already demonstrated in his swearing.

Other than that, I felt that the characters lacked dimension. They ran flat across the pa
Benjamin Farr
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016, lgbtqi
An important and necessary novel about the often muted topic of homosexuality in Islam.

With the right editing this book *could* have been exceptional, however the story was far too short and as a result the plot never truly developed. Although the story was littered with climatic moments, these events were never explored or written about in length (often only half a page at most). I would have loved for the author to develop the characters further, and to build on the plot, but alas this story
Jun 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
I know. I’m disappointed too. I wanted to read this because the topics seemed so important to me. The experiences of queer people of color, queer folks living in countries besides the United States, and the intersection of queerness and Islam, all are really meaningful important topics!!

But this just did not do those subjects justice. This, to be blunt, was horribly written. The plot was rushed and sloppy, and confusing too. The characters felt absolutely lifeless and I couldn’t connect to them
Mathis Bailey
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The main character had the worst luck with men and relationships. Almost to the point that it seemed unbelievable. But I still found the story engaging and fast pace. It reminded me of the queer movie Touch of Pink. The parallelism is the supernatural ghosts taunting the main characters' sexuality. A very quick read about homophobia and religion set in the rural Middle East. A startling debut novel.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt
The subject matter of this book is compelling: I have never read a book about the experience of being a gay man in Iraq, and their stories need to be told. Unfortunately, Namir's prose style doesn't live up to the weightiness of his subjects: Ramy's life is full of traumatic events and abuse, but Namir never gave himself space to really write about the impact of those events on Ramy's psyche. I often felt like I was reading notes for what should be a much longer piece, because everything happens ...more
Mustafa Bilal
Oct 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book is short, easy and plain. It took me two hours with an average speed of 284 w/m to finish it. Despite that, the book is not engaging at all. I would compare it here with Guapa by Saleem Haddad which deals with some of the same themes and it was very engaging and exploratory. This book was too much on the surface. It was rush and didn't wait for the reader to feel anything.

The second thing was that it offended my religious sensibilities. The task of experimenting with sensitive issues l
Sassafras Lowrey
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Powerful and heartbreaking. Probably not the week I should have chosen to read this book, but I'm grateful for having read it. God in Pink is an important addition to queer literature and the kinds of conversations it is inspiring about identity, expression and belonging. I'm so glad it won a Lammy!
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: readharder2016
This was my #readharder2016 Middle East pick, about a young Muslim man who is gay, and what a struggle it is to be gay in 2000s Iraq. It's very sad, and also reflective about how religious teachings can be interpreted. I recommend it.
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
A small book tackling a big topic. Shedding light on the anguish felt by many who are torn between who they are and who they are supposed to be, in a war torn country surrounded by religion, fundamentalists, tradition, politics and fear.
Tarn Khare
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is perfect for everyone! It gives the reader a glimpse into the grim reality of being queer in Iraq.
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
a story of a muslim queer, because such a thing does exist.
SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*
I need to reflect on this book before reviewing it.
Heed the warning of violence written on the back of the book. There's a lot of graphic detail, which isn't a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind before reading. I'd also like to advise future readers that this story deals with some pretty intense themes so, if you're not in place where you can approach these topics, please research if this book is a comfortable option for you.

Woo! Now, on to the review!

I loved the writing style. It was choppy at times, but that stylistic choice worked
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Very clearly a debut novel, God in Pink has some amazing moments, but suffers from some pacing and structural issues that I'm hopeful Namir will adjust to as he writes more. Because his viewpoint is one that is needed, and I truly hope to read more from him in the future.

Islamic LGBT voices are some of the most quieted in the world, and even in imperfect novels, it's so important to hear what they have to say.
Daniel Kukwa
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-lit
Beautiful, heartbreaking, devastating. Over and over, and those are the only suitable adjectives I can come up with to describe this slim little piece of the sublime: beautiful, heartbreaking, devastating.
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
One can't help but root for anyone unlucky enough to be queer in a traditional, religious society, but choppy prose, lack of character development, and an unconvincing theological element make this an unsatisfying read.
Martin Bee
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a great book. Easy to read, very moving and beautifully written. The book is about a gay guy growing up in Iraq and his fight to have a gay relationship! What a powerful read.
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“What is wrong with two people falling in love?”
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“Then what is wrong with homosexuality?”
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