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In the s Kamal Al Solaylee' s father was one of the wealthiest property owners in Aden in the south of Yemen but when the country shrugged off its colonial roots his properties were confiscated and the family was forced to leave The family moved first to Beirut which suddenly became one of the most dangerous places in the world then Cairo After a few peaceful years even the safe haven of Cairo struggled under a new wave of Islamic extremism that culmi Finally getting underway with reading the books for this year s Canada Reads debates my most favorite book event ever This year Canada Reads 2015 is all about books that can change perspectives challenge stereotypes and illuminate issues I decided to read Intolerable first because of Yemen a country I have a strange vicarious connection with On the surface the book seems to meet the theme s criteria change perspectives and challenge stereotypes Arab immigrants to the West face a lot of stereotypes but this book also deals with being gay in a society that doesn t condone it and illuminate issues what in the world is happening to Yemen and does the West have an obligation to helpButthis book fell flat for me This last chapter saved it for me but otherwise I just didn t feel very engaged I thought the author was rather repetitive about things which annoyed me I think it would have been a stronger book if he had interviewed his family so we could see his story from their perspective too rather than him just telling us what he thought they thought We sometimes got their view of what happened to their family but not often enough This bothered me because the author is a journalist Their family story is truly a saga but I don t think that really came through in this tellingAnother reviewer also lamented the absence of CanadaToronto I agree Other than hearing how much he loves Toronto we don t ever get a real sense of his transition to life there We go through some paces with himfinding a job moving apartments some lovers and a breakup briefly mentioned but I did not think there was not enough there to create the contrast between life in North America and Yemen for me to really feel grabbed by his story Everything felt rather glossed over I imagine this book was incredibly difficult to write as a reader I wish he had truly shared that pain with meI ll be curious to see how well this book gets defended but even without having read the other selections I m doubtful this one will be selected as the one all of Canada should read

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Intolerable

Islam that were sweeping large parts of the Arab Muslim world in the s and s The differences between his life and theirs were brought into sharp relief by the revolution in Egypt and the civil war in YemenIntolerable is part memoir of an Arab family caught in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics over six decades part personal coming out narrative and part cultural analysis This is a story of the modern Middle East that we think we know so much abou Kamal Al Solaylee s Intolerable A Memoir of Extremes takes place over 35 years five countries three continents and considerable social upheaval It is a story of a different culture of repeated immigrations and of feeling unsafe physically and psychologically It is a story of struggle and rising above In Intolerable Al Solaylee rejects his first home finds another but then rediscovers love for that first family and cultureAl Solaylee discovered early that he was gay in a society that didn t offer a name for who or what he was in a place where he discovered that he could expect stoning or flogging if he were found out Nonetheless he found a surprising amount of support within his familyThe whole coming out scene the Mom Dad I have something to tell you scenario is part of the Western narrative of being gay My sisters in particular figured it out soon enough without me having to come out They dealt with it by either ignoring it or by telling extended family members to leave me alone whenever any of them suggested a suitable brideIntolerable reveals that what it means to be gay in one culture is both similar to and different from that of other culturesWhat would you give up to be free Some of us would prioritize such freedom while others would not This is a central theme throughout Intolerable as Al Solaylee describes what he did to be allowed to live freely as a gay man giving up family home culture and lover He traveled to England to pursue a PhD in English primarily for the extra time abroad and associated global mobility rather than academe being his first loveFreedom with poverty meant to me than money without personal choice I saw things like position and home comforts as Middle Eastern values that could get in the way of this new life in Toronto if I let themIt was difficult reading Intolerable without wondering about those girls and boys men and women who don t have the financial social and psychological resources to survive under such conditions or other difficult ones Al Solaylee s sisters bikini clad and mini skirted as teens had fewer resources of some sorts and faced different barriers They moved to hijabs burkas and prayer to cope with the sexism social unrest and cultural instability in Egypt and then Yemen From Al Solaylee s point of view his sisters lowered their sights and became isolated and depressed Initially Al Solaylee scrambled to save himself distancing himself from his family and culture by any means possible only later describing himself as selfish By the end of Intolerable Al Solaylee found himself identifying with his family and obsessively searching the internet for news of Yemen in general and Sana a in particularMy Lebanese friends who have escaped the civil war in that country but left family members behind tell me that I ll get used to this feeling of helplessness and guilt I don t know what to make of it Does anyone ever accept that his family is suffering and living in the middle of a war zoneA sense of safety reprioritizes one s values and to some degree identities Intolerable liberally sprinkled with photos from Al Solaylee s life in the Middle East gives us a safe place to consider who we are what we value and how we choose to live In a time of increasing polarization it also gives us a sympathetic albeit often critical window onto the Middle East

Kamal Al-Solaylee è 5 Read & Download

Nated with the assassination of Anwar Sadat in The family returned to Yemen a country that was then culturally isolated from the rest of the worldAs a gay man living in an intolerant country Al Solaylee escaped first to England and eventually to Canada where he became a prominent journalist and academic While he was enjoying the cultural and personal freedoms of life in the West his once liberal family slowly fell into the hard line interpretations of I have very mixed feelings about this book which I read for Canada Reads I felt like I learned a lot about Yemen and what it is like to grow up in the Middle East if you are gay That to me was the most interesting part of the book At times I really disliked the narrator author I know that he had to leave for his own reasons and I don t begrudge him for that However I felt that he was sometimes really harsh on his relatives and family members By the end of the book he realizes that even though he tried to flee the Middle East he wasn t able to So I am very conflicted in my feelings about this book which means that I think it s a great pick for Canada Reads There s a lot to debate and discuss I don t think this book will win and I think some of the other panellists will also have problems with the narratorauthor because he doesn t come across as particularly likeable


10 thoughts on “Intolerable

  1. says:

    Intolerable is a powerful timely and courageous memoir about the author’s experiences growing up in the Middle East Yemen then Lebanon Egypt and back to Yemen dealing with increasing social intolerance the rise of Islamic fundamenta

  2. says:

    Finally getting underway with reading the books for this year's Canada Reads debates my most favorite book event ever This year Canada

  3. says:

    The Story Behind the StoryThere is no doubt that Kamal Al Solaylee’s new book “Intolerable – A Memoir of Extremes” has all

  4. says:

    While the book was not exactly as bad a read as the first word of the title and while I did learn a thing or two about Yemen and the

  5. says:

    I have very mixed feelings about this book which I read for Canada Reads I felt like I learned a lot about Yemen and what it is like to grow up in the Middle East if you are gay That to me was the most interesting part of the book At times I r

  6. says:

    AhhhKamal Komeath Al SolayleeYou are NOT a whiner When a person is able to live wellthat may be selfishso we all are selfish in that If you live wellthen you are able to help others A miserable person can only enable others to stay miserable togetherThank you for your very personal story Thank you for coming full circle in your lifeWhen anyone wonders why so many people want to live in Canadaa uote from your story says it rightuo

  7. says:

    Intolerable is the perfect name for this memoir It was intolerable for the author to live in repressive countries where homosexually was not allowed or even acknowledged Eually intolerable was the poverty and living condition in his birth country of Yemen before he left especially for his mother and sisters living under very strict orthodo

  8. says:

    Kamal Al Solaylee's Intolerable A Memoir of Extremes takes place over 35 years five countries three continents and considerable social upheaval It is a story of a different culture of repeated immigrations and of feeling unsafe physically and psychologically It is a story of struggle and rising above In Intolerable Al Solaylee rejects his first home finds another but then rediscovers love for that first family and cultu

  9. says:

    Continuing to make my way through CANADA READS' 2015 nominees I found Intolerable A Memoir of Extremes to be the least impressive read to date Kamal Al Solaylee's memoir details his struggles to come to terms with his homosexuality in Yemen as it coincides with extremist Islam changing his country family and ultimately leading to his immigration to Canada While Al Solaylee's story is undoubtably harrowing and provides a strong ta

  10. says:

    Kamal Al Solaylee has written a haunting no nonsense autobiography whose main protagonist is a shared union of mother and son A Janus like tale in that the reader is invited to see through the eyes of extremely literate educated Arab male whose sexuality in his country of heritage would judge as blasphemous and subversive if not criminal At the same time the author sketches the life of a culturally conforming illiterate matron of incredible