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Black Foam

By: Haji Jabir, Sawad Hussain - translator, Marcia Lynx Qualey - translator
Narrated by: Youssif Kamal
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Publisher's Summary

From award-winning Eritrean author Haji Jabir comes a profoundly intimate novel about one man’s tireless attempt to find his place in the world.

Dawoud 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 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.

©2018, 2023 Haji Jabir (P)2022 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Translation © 2023 by Sawad Hussain and Marcia Lynx Qualey.

Critic Reviews

Longlisted for the 2019 International Prize for Arabic Fiction

“Youssif Kamal lends his flexible baritone to this ambitious novel about the universal feeling of wanting to belong.… Kamal's narration is smooth and well-paced, almost to the point of a silkiness that reflects the more sensual moments of the plot. Listeners will be entranced by this performance. Through Kamal's characterization, we feel empathy for Dawoud as he changes his name, religion, and personality in order to escape a dark secret.… This is a surprising story with unique twists.”AudioFile Magazine

“With a gravelly voice, narrator Youssif Kamal fully inhabits the character of Dawoud, conveying his gnawing worries and stress, and also his satisfaction and relief when his stories are taken at face value. Kamal's unmediated, authentic presentation captures the complexity of a person trapped in terrible circumstances—always waiting to be caught out, yet hopeful that he might find a place to call home. This uncomfortable but illuminating listen should appeal to listeners interested in exploring the intersection of identity, religion, and culture. Share with fans of Omer Friedland's The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land or Ru Freeman's Sleeping Alone.”Library Journal

“A captivating tale of one man’s tireless journey to belong.”Booklist

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