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WEIL WIR LÄNGST WOANDERS SIND
Fiction, ca. 160 pp., Spring 2016
English sample available
“With Rasha Khayat, a strong, new voice has arrived in literature. Reflecting great intelligence, wit, and never-ending beauty, she tells of a world, the likes of which we have never heard of before. Simply marvelous.” Olga Grjasnowa
A gentle, empathic story of a brother and sister and a book about a Saudi Arabia very different from the one we hear of in the news.
How are we supposed to get there if we are already somewhere else?
Layla and Basil are like binary stars, inseparable siblings who belong together and nothing can come between them. Together they are a unit of two against the world. Then Layla makes a decision that nobody understands, but which changes everything: She decides to marry. A man form the old home, Saudi-Arabia. A decision not made out of love, but out of principle. In doing so, she is giving up one life for the sake of another – one that she does not know, that she has never lived and which was denied to her by her parents’ decision to bring the children to Germany.
“Because We Are Already Somewhere Else” tells the story of Basil’s journey to his sister’s wedding. A last time he wants to feel the old closeness. At the same time the journey leads him directly into his own past: the charmingly crazy cosmos of his Saudi relatives – people who were never present in his “German life” and, at the same time, were always there like a parallel universe. What could have convinced Layla, a young, secular, freedom loving woman, to want to go to a land in which women are anything but free? How can we confront such feelings of foreignness, when they cannot be addressed in the Here and How? Is our Western freedom perhaps a simple claim rather than a reality, now that nobody is fighting for it any longer – nobody sees what a treasure it is? The author not only asks painful questions, but finds answers to them that are every bit as uncomfortable as the questions themselves, because they touch the inner self.
Rasha Khayat was born in 1978 in Dortmund. She grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. At the age of 11, her family moved back to Germany. She studied Comparative Literature, German Literature and Philosophy in Bonn. Since 2005, she has been living in Hamburg as a writer, translator and editor. She has spent longer periods of time in the Arabic world and blogs about life, literature and pop culture in the middle East at www.westoestlichediva.de. In 2009, she was a stipend holder in the Edenkoben class of the Jürgen Ponto Foundation. “Because We Are Already Somewhere Else” is her first novel.
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