The Angel of History

A Novel. Nominiert: Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence 2017

Rabih Alameddine

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“There are many ways to break someone's heart, but Rabih Alameddine is one rare writer who not only breaks our hearts but gives every broken piece a new life."—Yiyun Li

Following the critical and commercial success of An Unnecessary Woman , Alameddine delivers a spectacular portrait of a man and an era of profound political and social upheaval.

Set over the course of one night in the waiting room of a psych clinic, The Angel of History follows Yemeni-born poet Jacob as he revisits the events of his life, from his maternal upbringing in an Egyptian whorehouse to his adolescence under the aegis of his wealthy father and his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of AIDS. Hovered over by the presence of alluring, sassy Satan who taunts Jacob to remember his painful past and dour, frigid Death who urges him to forget and give up on life, Jacob is also attended to by 14 saints. Set in Cairo and Beirut; Sana'a, Stockholm, and San Francisco; Alameddine gives us a charged philosophical portrait of a brilliant mind in crisis. This is a profound, philosophical and hilariously winning story of the war between memory and oblivion we wrestle with every day of our lives.

“Rabih Alameddine is one our most daring writers—daring not in the cheap sense of lurid or racy, but as a surgeon, a philosopher, an explorer, or a dancer."—Michael Chabon

A Washington Independent Review of Books, Literary Hub, and Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year

"Alameddine, entrancing and unflinching, is in easy command of his bricolage narrative, and he leavens its tragedy with wit." -New York Times Book Review

"An elegy for a lost generation of gay men [and] a structurally inventive bildungsroman . . . The Angel of History marks the triumph of memory over oblivion." -Bookforum

"The narrative spans every corner of the globe to reveal a razor-sharp mind in turmoil, reflecting a wider consciousness of the social unrest around him." -Harper's Bazaar online

"The Angel of History takes place in a single day, but it reads like an epic . . . a sprawling fever dream of a novel, by turns beautiful and horrifying, and impossible to forget . . . Alameddine is a writer with a boundless imagination . . . [his] writing is so beautiful, so exuberant . . . When Alameddine aims for the heart, he doesn't miss, and he hits hard . . . The Angel of History isn't just a brilliant novel, it's a heartfelt cry in the dark, a reminder that we can never forget our past, the friends and family we've loved and lost. It's a raw love letter from those who survived a plague to those who didn't."

"A remarkable novel, a commentary of love and death, creativity and spirituality, memory and survival . . . brilliant . . . [it] hits an emotional nerve." -Los Angeles Review of Books

"Excellent, lissome . . . the novel is a work of social and cultural memorialization . . . The Angel of History suggests that to be alienated-from past love and from the past itself-is to open the door to memory and creation . . . to read Alameddine's prose is to see loss, if not mastered, then at least made into lively and living art." -San Francisco Chronicle

"Laced with literary references . . . a kaleidoscopic storytelling style, and philosophical humor." -New Yorker

"A poignant act of remembering by one AIDS survivor to a new generation . . . an evocative religious and sexual elegiac with both dark and stirring comedy . . . a poetic combination of Mapplethorpean imagery and religious symbolism. It's uncomfortable and enlightening; an experiment in merging the present with the past, in merging a gay life characterized by assimilation with a gay life celebratory of its deviancy. It dances between the ecstasy of sexual release and the ecstasy of religious rapture . . . an unforgettable novel. The Angel of History is cathartic tale of outsiders and insiders and what's lost in becoming each." -PopMatters

"This is a story of one life and many themes: in this case, death and sex; religion; war; the purpose of art and of love and loss; and the need to remember. Here is a book, full of story, unrepentantly political at every level. At a time when many western writers seem to be in retreat from saying anything that could be construed as political, Alameddine says it all, shamelessly, gloriously." -Guardian

"Alameddine has created a scintillating, original work whose moral complexity and detail of observation are wholly contemporary and entirely his own." -Spectator

"Alameddine has beguiled us with his insight and compassion. His stories take the reader into the labyrinth that is the mind . . . presenting the existential drama of a single human life." -Economist

"A stylish gem constructed of love and loss. All of it forms a glorious excess of life, death, and haunting memory . . . Alameddine [is] a daring and perceptive storyteller." -Bay Area Reporter

"Smart, impassioned . . . The Angel of History is Alameddine at his best . . . he's becoming an indispensable writer." -Toronto Star Tribune

"[Alameddine's] colorful syntax, his unique paralleling of communities (homosexuals, Arabs) and his intertwining of religious, sexual and popular imagery feel both important and exciting." -Macleans

"A character study of a brilliant but tormented soul." -Seattle Times

"While it is unflinching in its portrayal

Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels
An Unnecessary Woman;
I, the Divine;
The Hakawati; and the story collection,
The Perv.


Einband gebundene Ausgabe
Seitenzahl 304
Erscheinungsdatum 04.10.2016
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-8021-2576-7
Verlag Atlantic Monthly Pr
Maße (L/B/H) 21,8/14,4/3 cm
Gewicht 466 g


1 Bewertungen

The Angel of History
von miss.mesmerized am 18.10.2016

Satan has to have a word with Death, somethings wrong with Jacob and for quite some time they got along quite well. But now, Jacob, a poet by devotion, is looking for help in a psychiatric clinic. It is not the first time Jacob is there, but this time, things seem to be serious. While waiting for the doctor, he thinks back to th... Satan has to have a word with Death, somethings wrong with Jacob and for quite some time they got along quite well. But now, Jacob, a poet by devotion, is looking for help in a psychiatric clinic. It is not the first time Jacob is there, but this time, things seem to be serious. While waiting for the doctor, he thinks back to the time when he was a child, first fleeing Yemen with his mother, then finding shelter in a whorehouse in Egypt. Years later his father puts him into a church school in Lebanon. But also newer memories arise, his lovers whom died one after the other, his cat who picked Jacob and his roommate albeit they never wanted to care for a pet. Like this, the evening advances slowly. Admittedly, I had serious problems finding into the novel. The most problematic was that I could not perceive the different parts as belonging to the same book. The discussion between Satan and Death is quite absurd and funny, here Alameddine can really entertain the reader. Much more interesting but also depressing are Jacob's memories of his childhood, especially his time in Cairo which, due to the conditions, could have left deep scars and negative feelings but are remembered as a time of being loved and feeling secure. This all is at times interrupted by the poet's work of art which somehow does not relate at all to the rest and then the actual situation in the waiting room with his roommate sending texts to find out what is wrong. Rabih Alameddine has a poetic style of writing and to my perception, whenever we move with the plot to the Middle East, no matter which country, his is strongest in his expression and narration. Nevertheless, there was no real development in the character, action I did not expect from the description, but such as it is, I could not really make sense out of the story.

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