Selamlik

Selamlik
ALESMAEL Khaled

Leopard, Sweden, 2018  Selamlik_Cover2019jpg-200x300

 

Summary

Summary

Depicted as a story of curiosity and lust in the German press, Selamlik, autobiographic novel by Alesmael, tells the journey of Furat from his home in Syria, to Sweden, via Turkey. A route taken by so many who fled the horrors of the Syrian civil war. Yet, Selamlik is first and foremost a very intimate account of this experience. While Furat waits in a Swedish refugee asylum for his situation to be regularised, he goes over his present Swedish limbo, as well as his past life in Syria: His mother and brothers, the dog they once owned, as well as the time he realized as a teen ager he was not attracted to women like all his class mates were. We discover his first sexual experiences, his first love story, and his exploration of the underground erotic scene of Damascus, a landscape made of dodgy cinemas, toilets in public parks, and of course, Hammams. Constantly playing with danger (homosexuality is illegal under Asad’s regime), but compelled to live his sexuality, Furat ultimately leaves Syria for fear of persecution by religious extremists. Yet, as he finally reaches his Swedish asylum, and shares his accommodation, and even his room, with other refugee men, Furat comes face to face with the most basic form of homophobia, the one based on ignorance, and the belief that homosexuality is an illness Syrian men caught in Europe.

The Selamlik is the room in large mansion and palaces under the Ottoman empire dedicated to welcoming male guests exclusively, as opposed to the Haremlik, which is the part of the mansion dedicated to wife and family. The Selamlik is also the name of a place in Istanbul, part hostel part brothel, where Furat meets Baklawa, a male prostitute, and begins his search for a passage to Europe by boat. As the title indicates, the particularity of Alesmael’s tone is its lightheartedness, its irony, and its outright humor. Despite the tragedy of it all, despite the violence and the pain, the novel remains colorful. Alesmael succeeds in maintaining the contrast, and providing a captivating read.

Translation sample

Translation sample coming soon

Rights

Rights

RAYA represents the author for the world rights of this title.

Check Khaled Aslesmael’s page for the rights situation of this title.

 

 

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