What The Word On The Street Is Reading: Toronto Book Awards

This year, we are happy to welcome back our Toronto Book Awards‘ bloggers, Christine and Carol Sweeton – our mother/daughter blogging team! They will be reading and reviewing the finalists for this year’s Toronto Book Awards, which will be awarded on October 9, 2013. To read more about Christine and Carol, click here.

This is the second post in the series. Today, they are reviewing Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

ImageAbout the Book:

Part memoir of an Arab family trapped in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics, part coming-out narrative and part cultural analysis, Intolerable covers the last 50 years and recounts the story of Al-Solaylee’s family as they moved from Aden, to Beirut, to Cairo and then to Sana’a, Yemen, a country that was then culturally isolated from the world. Caught between the shift into political Islam in the Middle East and the allure of the West, the young and gay Al-Solaylee escaped first to England and eventually to Canada. Intolerable charts his journey against the backdrop of an increasingly violent Middle East

Chris and Carol’s review:

An insiders story,  Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes written by Kamal Al-Solaylee, provides insights into the recent history and current state of Middle Eastern politics, religion and basic day-to-day living. Written with pin-point journalistic style, Al-Solaylee tracks his life from his birth in Yemen through his many family moves: Cairo, Beirut and then back to Yemen. He documents the families experiences from wealth to poverty, from liberalism to strict religion. Al-Solaylee writes about his escape via scholarship to England and then on to Canada and discusses the joy he finds in Toronto juxtaposed against the guilt he feels about leaving his family behind in ever increasing difficulties. The memoir points out the effects that the unrest in the Middle East has on the individuals living there and the bitter sweet emotions attached to “escaping”.

See Kamal Al-Solaylee read from his nominated title, Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, at the Toronto Book Awards Tent at 1:00pm and again at 5:00pm.


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