“A captivating tale of one man’s tireless journey to belong. Perfect for readers of East African literature and historical fiction.” ―Booklist
“A searing exposé of the plight of Ethiopian Jews who immigrate to Israel. There is a cinematic quality to BLACK FOAM, a discovery of new worlds, with Haji Jabir pointing a camera, up close and intimate, at his protagonist’s anxieties and fancies. Scenes slice as Muslim Dawoud becomes Christian David then Jewish Dawit, accompanied by a haunting soundtrack of loneliness and the indomitable will to survive.” ―Leila Aboulela, author of River Spirit
Haji Jabir, the award-winning Eritrean author, is one of the most significant Arabic-language authors writing today. In BLACK FOAM, he weaves together a poignant tale about identity, belonging, refugees and racism that will resonate with many readers long after the last page is turned. Longlisted for the 2019 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, one of the most prestigious prizes for fiction in Arabic, BLACK FOAM will be published for the first time in English, translated by Sawad Hussain and Marcia Lynx Qualey (February 7, 2023; Amazon Crossing, by arrangement with the African Literary Agency).
With a unique poetic writing style, Jabir focuses on a community of Ethiopian Jews who move to Israel, and he creates a protagonist, Dawoud, who is on the run from his murky past, aiming to discover where he belongs. He tries to assimilate into different groups along his journey through North Africa and into Israel, changing his clothes, his religious affiliations, and even his name to fit in, but the safety and peace he seeks remain elusive. It seems prejudice is everywhere, holding him back, when all he really wants is to create a simple life he can call his own. A chameleon, Dawoud―or David, Adal, or Dawit, depending on where and when you meet him―is not lost in this whirl of identities. In fact, he is defined by it.
Dawoud’s journey is circuitous and specific, but the desire to belong is universal. Spellbinding to the final page, BLACK FOAM is both intimate and grand in scale, much like the experiences of the millions of people migrating to find peace and safety in the twenty-first century.
Check out the line up of stellar bloggers who will share features, post reviews and offer giveaways throughout the month of February. We hope you will follow along!
Monday, February 6 – This Browne Girl Reads
Tuesday, February 7 – We Love Big Books And We Cannot Lie
Wednesday, February 8 – Traveling Bookshelf
Thursday, February 9 – Subakka Bookstuff
Friday, February 10 – Bee is for Books
Monday, February 13 – Reading with Nicole
Tuesday, February 14 – Suzy Approved Book Reviews
Wednesday, February 15 – Tina May Reads
Thursday, February 16 – Lexijava AND What Is That Book About
Friday, February 17 – Sue the Bookie
Monday, February 20 – Translated Gems
Tuesday, February 21 – Bathtub Book Worm
Wednesday, February 22 – MJ Beauchamp
Thursday, February 23 – Bookalong
Friday, February 24 – Books and Coffee MX
Monday, February 27 – Girl Who Reads AND Danish Mustard Reads
Tuesday, February 28 – Mel Reads All The Things AND Gloriana Wong