Middle East/North African Lit discussion

requests and questions > LGBTQ characters in Middle Eastern/Islamic fiction

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message 1: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 57 comments Hey everyone,

I'm sorry for not participating in any group discussions or reads lately, but I've been swamped with work since I started my Masters degree in September. And it's for this that I really need your help. I'm doing an MSc in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, and for my dissertation I would like to look at novels with LGBTQ characters in a Middle Eastern or Islamic setting. I've been trying really hard to find some novels dealing with this subject matter, but they're surprisingly hard to find. So far the only one that really fits the bill is If You Could Be Mine, which I am definitely going to use.

So my question to you is this: do you know of any books that deal at least remotely with this topic? If you do please let me know, and I'll be eternally grateful :) Cheers!

message 2: by Marieke, Former moderator (new)

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
Philippa (Thousand and One Books) wrote: "Hey everyone,

I'm sorry for not participating in any group discussions or reads lately, but I've been swamped with work since I started my Masters degree in September. And it's for this that I rea..."

Hi Philippa! no worries!

i'm not sure if these will fit your bill, but i think Women of Sand and Myrrhdeals with lesbianism, at least implicitly. I read it a long time ago.

Koolaids: The Art of War is a famous one, but I have not read it. I think much of this writer's work deals with LGBTQ issues in the ME, at least in Lebanon? I'm not 100% sure because i haven't managed to get to much of his stuff yet.

I will poke around and hopefully come up with some more titles. I'm sure other members will have ideas, too.

Good luck!

message 3: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 57 comments Hi Marieke! I actually own Women of Sand and Myrrh, though I haven't read it yet, but that one was already on my list. I'll definitely check out Koolaids. Thanks for your suggestions! :)

message 4: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2758 comments Mod
It is hard to reach many , it is a taboo in Islamic or Arabic culture , what I know but didn't read yet and I am not sure to how far they fit into what you need:

The Stone of Laughter - Lebanon
Cinnamon - Syria

I will add to bookshelves later .

Maybe Distant View of a Minaret and Other Stories , Egypt

I read The Yacoubian Building and it is partly there .

message 5: by Ming (last edited Nov 20, 2013 02:49PM) (new)

Ming | 20 comments Fascinating dissertation topic.

Here are a few books and some possible resources:

My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (has a few references to same-gender dynamics);
The City of Devi by Manil Suri (has a gay Arab main character but the setting is not in M.E.);
The Night Counter: A Novel by Alia Yunis (set in the US but there is a gay Arab-American character) and one of the funniest books I’ve ever read;
The Two Krishnas: A Novel by Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla (also set in the US with an Arab main character)

On my to-read list:
I Can't Think Straight by Shamim Sarif (set in the UK),
Salvation Army by Abdellah Taïa (nonfiction)

And two GR lists:

message 6: by Marieke, Former moderator (new)

Marieke | 1179 comments Mod
Huh. I did not even think to check GR lists! Thanks, Ming! I bet Phillipa will have a lot to look through. :)

message 7: by Ming (new)

Ming | 20 comments oh and here's an anthology of fiction and nonfiction, definitely in a Islamic context

Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology


message 8: by Ming (new)

Ming | 20 comments have you seen this link? it has few additional titles. http://www.al-bab.com/arab/background...

al-bab.com seems like a mixed bag in terms of content

message 9: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 57 comments Thanks everyone, your suggestions have been really helpful! And I'm sorry for not responding to any of you sooner, but I'm swamped with essay deadlines etc.

message 10: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 607 comments Mod
Here are some more from Morocco. As Nile Daughter pointed out, it's a taboo in Arabic / Muslim culture. In Morocco, it's more likely to be discussed in French...
1. The Almond L'Amande by anonymous "Nadjma" - She writes of lesbian attraction and homosexuality
2. Ni Fleurs Ni Couronnes by Bahéchar, only available in French as far as I can see
3. vie à trois: roman - Une Vie à trois by Trabelsi, also available only in French as far as I know

Good luck ~ Melanie

message 11: by Philippa (new)

Philippa | 57 comments Thanks Melanie! Luckily I can read French, so I'll definitely have a look at those titles :)

message 12: by Michael-Ann (new)

Michael-Ann Cerniglia (mcerniglia) | 2 comments Please check out this book, which falls in this category and is a wonderful read.

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