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Salvation Army is autobiographical, to an extent, it s based on Ta a s own experiences growing up in an arab household, with parents who fought and loved, an older brother he and the whole family adored, multiple sisters, and being a young gay boy And it s the story of a young arab man entering academia, learning French, coming to Geneva a meeting with the Western world that, from afar could seem to offer salvation, but up close is so many other things It s at first the young boy surrounded Salvation Army is autobiographical, to an extent, it s based on Ta a s own experiences growing up in an arab household, with parents who fought and loved, an older brother he and the whole family adored, multiple sisters, and being a young gay boy And it s the story of a young arab man entering academia, learning French, coming to Geneva a meeting with the Western world that, from afar could seem to offer salvation, but up close is so many other things It s at first the young boy surrounded by family and then, as Ta a himself described it when he visited my university, the hero alone in Geneva It s a mirror, the two parts reflecting each other Everything that we experience in the second half, when Ta a is older, is present in the first half, in his childhood It s a moment from childhood and a moment from adulthood The violence, the love, the heartbreak, the betrayal, the hope, everything he ll experience later is present in those moments from his childhood And it s nothing that you might expect Ta a captures perfectly the duality, the complexity of any family and any person, arab or not, gay or not We re never just one thing, we re always several people crammed behind one face, and the person we portray outside the house is the different from the one you meet inside Perhaps being gay, and knowing it from an early age, made himsusceptible to these observations that there s always something of yourself you hide from others Ta a is in no away ashamed, he writes with honesty and without regret He s helped bring apositive awareness of homosexuality to his native country, Marocco, and it d be easy to look at this as a gay coming of age story, which in a way it is, but it sunique than that,complex and nuanced It s not the story of a life, it s the story of two moments, and everything unsaid, but lived between those two moments And there s something relentless and brutal in his writing, perhaps it s in the honesty, or the poetry, or the way he seems so determined to tell the story he s telling When he visited my university he gave a very informal talk to my class about his writing, his early life, why he writes in French, his filmmaking and various other things He was incredibly eloquent and likeable, he seemed extremely reflected and like he was honestly trying to get at something deeper with his writing He stated himself that he doesn t write to solve problems, that whatever conflict or inner battle he s facing in real life doesn t go away as he writes a book, it s the same afterwards Writing is rather a way to fight the language Marocco has a lot of French speakers, and they always spoke with an arrogant, hostile air, and Ta a wanted to use that, to take it and take revenge on the language, to fight it I think that s what you can sense when reading this book and possibly his other books There s a ferocity to it, and a vulnerability as well, a desire to fight your way to freedom through this language, while being very aware you can t truly escape it It becomesthan just a simple story, it serves a larger purpose In any case, Abdellah Ta a is an interesting, talented, unconventional writer, and I m very excited to readof him He seemed honest and extremely reflected, being incredibly aware of his own position and what he was struggling to do he joked that even being in bed with a Frenchman was colonialism Simply a really, really compelling person and author Please check out his work, I promise it ll be worth it This short book is a coming of age story of a boy from Morocco He s gay, and maybe first puts that together when observing and loving his brother Later he falls for a man from Switzerland, but when he pursues his education in that country, things go sour. A perplexing achievement The language used creates a distance between the text and the reader The story is fairly common, yet the result in somehow mysterious The language is very straightforward, yet Taia comes off as profound One wonders how much of this is the translation, and how much is due to Taia s mother tongue So much of our thinking is shaped by language instead of thinking doing the shaping and yet this influence is all but invisible to most people.I hope to have a chance to re A perplexing achievement The language used creates a distance between the text and the reader The story is fairly common, yet the result in somehow mysterious The language is very straightforward, yet Taia comes off as profound One wonders how much of this is the translation, and how much is due to Taia s mother tongue So much of our thinking is shaped by language instead of thinking doing the shaping and yet this influence is all but invisible to most people.I hope to have a chance to read this short autobiographical novel again.UPDATE Read this again in November 2016 Saw the movie and then searched out the book, only to realize I had already read it the movie is only loosely based on the book So perhaps everything seemsstraightforward now because I ve read it twice and seen a screen adaptation Three simple yet haunting intertwining tales of a boy turned young man who is an outsider no matter who he s with or where he goes, whether he is home with his mother, on travels with his brothers, or in a foreign country abandoned by a former lover Ta a caught my attention with his emotional gutpunch of an essay in the New York Times about being a gay boy growing up in Morocco and this memoir cum novel holds just as much power and casts an even larger spell His astute perspective and lonely t Three simple yet haunting intertwining tales of a boy turned young man who is an outsider no matter who he s with or where he goes, whether he is home with his mother, on travels with his brothers, or in a foreign country abandoned by a former lover Ta a caught my attention with his emotional gutpunch of an essay in the New York Times about being a gay boy growing up in Morocco and this memoir cum novel holds just as much power and casts an even larger spell His astute perspective and lonely tone as an outsider and nomad with no true home reminded me of Damon Galgut s In a Strange Room My only drawback with this novel is that I wish I spoke French so I could read the original without the barrier of translation Highly recommend ( Kindle ) ☼ Salvation Army ⚖ An autobiographical coming of age novel by the the only gay man in MoroccoAn autobiographical novel by turn naive and cunning, funny and moving, this most recent work by Moroccan expatriate Abdellah Taia is a major addition to the new French literature emerging from the North African Arabic diaspora Salvation Army is a coming of age novel that tells the story of Taia s life with complete disclosure from a childhood bound by family order and latent homo sexual tensions in the poor city of Sal , through an adolescence in Tangier charged by the young writer s attraction to his eldest brother, to a disappointing arrival in the Western world to study in Geneva in adulthood In so doing, Salvation Army manages to burn through the author s first person singularity to embody the complex m lange of fear and desire projected by Arabs on Western culture Recently hailed by his native country s press as the first Moroccan to have the courage to publicly assert his difference, Taia, through his calmly transgressive work, has outed himself as the only gay man in a country whose theocratic law still declares homosexuality a crime The persistence of prejudices on all sides of the Mediterranean and Atlantic makes the translation of Taia s work both a literary and political event The Lost Boys: A Family Ripped Apart by War funny and moving The Sizzling Spanish (Horrible History Magazines, this most recent work by Moroccan expatriate Abdellah Taia is a major addition to the new French literature emerging from the North African Arabic diaspora Salvation Army is a coming of age novel that tells the story of Taia s life with complete disclosure from a childhood bound by family order and latent homo sexual tensions in the poor city of Sal Dog's Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting through an adolescence in Tangier charged by the young writer s attraction to his eldest brother Ya no quedan junglas adonde regresar to a disappointing arrival in the Western world to study in Geneva in adulthood In so doing Pure Genius : Dan Sullivan's Lifetime Focusing System for Total Self-mastery Salvation Army manages to burn through the author s first person singularity to embody the complex m lange of fear and desire projected by Arabs on Western culture Recently hailed by his native country s press as the first Moroccan to have the courage to publicly assert his difference 0range / Koji Morimoto / Scrapbook Taia Play Dirty through his calmly transgressive work Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones has outed himself as the only gay man in a country whose theocratic law still declares homosexuality a crime The persistence of prejudices on all sides of the Mediterranean and Atlantic makes the translation of Taia s work both a literary and political event Salvation Army by Abdellah Taia is not a complicated on the surface It tells the story of a young gay Moroccan boy who grows up in large family and later comes to Europe in the pursuit of sexual and intellectual freedom When his friend does not show up at the airport in Geneva to pick him up, he is forced to seek shelter at the Salvation Army It is not your average coming of age story Taia puts together an amazingly sobering story about growing up in a culture in which your freedom to make Salvation Army by Abdellah Taia is not a complicated on the surface It tells the story of a young gay Moroccan boy who grows up in large family and later comes to Europe in the pursuit of sexual and intellectual freedom When his friend does not show up at the airport in Geneva to pick him up, he is forced to seek shelter at the Salvation Army It is not your average coming of age story Taia puts together an amazingly sobering story about growing up in a culture in which your freedom to make choices is not considered He is in love with his brother and has erotic fantasies about him and the brother doesn t seem to notice The fact of having eleven siblings can leave anyone feeling lost in their own family, but Taia retains a distinct personality through and through He gets mixed up with Swiss sex tourists one who helps him achieve his dreams of leaving Morocco to study further.Whether he is writing about North Africa or Western Europe, Taia seems to have found a way to put things in perspective at least for himself He finds North African lovers be warm, passionate and full of love for life On the other hand, his Western European affairs tend to leave him yearning forAnd while he finds laughter and the exotic bliss of life in his family, it is Western Europe where yearns to find the peace and happiness one finds in freedom.Taia s autobiographical novel is an engaging read A coming out book in a culture where homosexuality is criminal, this memoir is of interest from the comparative cultural point of view today or even in the 80s, but I don t see that it offers much for those of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s It all sounds very familiar Ta a was about 33 when he published his memories of being a teen He comes off as being naive, affectionate, smart, a nice guy I d like to know He tells his story without shame I wonder how looking at his teen years from A coming out book in a culture where homosexuality is criminal, this memoir is of interest from the comparative cultural point of view today or even in the 80s, but I don t see that it offers much for those of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s It all sounds very familiar Ta a was about 33 when he published his memories of being a teen He comes off as being naive, affectionate, smart, a nice guy I d like to know He tells his story without shame I wonder how looking at his teen years from the point of of a 33 y o romanticized his story I wonder too how successful he was in actualizing his needs listed at the end of the book One suspects he was fairly successful It is written in a vignette, rapid fire style which is easily read in an evening I wished the vignettes had been fleshed out,detailed there are things I d like to knowabout being Gay in Morocco, the conflict of being Moslem and Gay eg I would imagine the book of most interest to Gays living in Morocco today It is a positive look at being a Moroccan Gay, even if living as such means crossing the sea.The book is certainly worth a read I doubt it is worth a re read This was my first book by Abdellah Taia, his name evokes in me the Casbah in Tangiers,were many years ago I spent a New Years Eve The title of this book intrigued me,that is why I picked it up, and soon realized it had nothing to do with Soap Soup and Salvation, it is a story of a poor young Moroccan in love with the mysteries of Europe, the Salvation Army has a hostel in Geneva, the story is about love between family members, a special love for his older brother Abdelkebir and other sexual enc This was my first book by Abdellah Taia, his name evokes in me the Casbah in Tangiers,were many years ago I spent a New Years Eve The title of this book intrigued me,that is why I picked it up, and soon realized it had nothing to do with Soap Soup and Salvation, it is a story of a poor young Moroccan in love with the mysteries of Europe, the Salvation Army has a hostel in Geneva, the story is about love between family members, a special love for his older brother Abdelkebir and other sexual encounters he has with other men.The story allows a look into the life of a Moroccan family, Mother Father children, it deals with the poverty of the Moroccan and his several ways of combating this poverty.The book is a well worth and rather quick read My stodgy side reappears A memoir that ruminates for a long time on the author s giant crush on his older brother, and doesn t really contain much other than that, except his parents fights and this Swiss guy he fucks for awhile, and then doesn t There isn t much of substance here, and I am willing to admit that the incest threw me out of the narrative, but frankly, there wasn t much of a narrative to begin with. Abdellah Taia is described as the only out Moroccan writer That may or may not be true, but what is true is that Taia s voice, talent, and subject matter, are in stark contrast to deeply conservative Morocco Salvation Army is an autobiographical novel, which covers the beginnings of Taia s exploration of his own identity, sexually and culturally, and his first days in Europe, where he currently lives The book says a lot in few words The prose is minimal, but elegant Strangely, though, it Abdellah Taia is described as the only out Moroccan writer That may or may not be true, but what is true is that Taia s voice, talent, and subject matter, are in stark contrast to deeply conservative Morocco Salvation Army is an autobiographical novel, which covers the beginnings of Taia s exploration of his own identity, sexually and culturally, and his first days in Europe, where he currently lives The book says a lot in few words The prose is minimal, but elegant Strangely, though, it doesn t have a message, and no lesson is learned it is just one part of one man s story It s meaning is unclear, because it isn t finished, and whatever meaning it has to the author, may be lost or unknown to us and that s how individual lives usually are I enjoyed this book thoroughly, and hope to readof Taia s work