Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes

Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes

by

memoir, , arab-world, canada-reads, 2015, canadian, memoir-biography, biography, other-reviewed-books, canadian, canada-reads, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Cultural, Biography, LGBT, Religion, GLBT, History, Biography Memoir

In the 1960s, Kamal Al-Solaylee' s father was one of the wealthiest property owners in Aden, in the south of Yemen, but when the country shrugged off its colonial roots, his properties were confiscated, and the family was forced to leave. The family moved first to Beirut, which suddenly became one of the most dangerous places in the world, then Cairo. After a few peaceful years, even the safe haven of Cairo struggled under a new wave of Islamic extremism that culminated with the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. The family returned to Yemen, a country that was then culturally isolated from the rest of the world.

As a gay man living in an intolerant country, Al-Solaylee escaped first to England and eventually to Canada, where he became a prominent journalist and academic. While he was enjoying the cultural and personal freedoms of life in the West, his once-liberal family slowly fell into the hard-line interpretations of Islam that were sweeping large parts of the Arab-Muslim world in the 1980s and 1990s. The differences between his life and theirs were brought into sharp relief by the 2011 revolution in Egypt and the civil war in Yemen.

Intolerable is part memoir of an Arab family caught in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics over six decades, part personal coming-out narrative and part cultural analysis. This is a story of the modern Middle East that we think we know so much about.

Title:Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781554688869
Format Type:

    Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes Reviews

  • Glenn Sumi

    Intolerable is a powerful, timely and courageous memoir about the author’s experiences growing up in the Middle East (Yemen, then Lebanon, Egypt and back to Yemen), dealing with increasing social in...

  • Marieke

    Finally getting underway with reading the books for this year's Canada Reads debates, my most favorite book event ever. This year "Canada Reads 2015 is all about books that can change perspectives, ch...

  • David Hallman

    The Story Behind the StoryThere is no doubt that Kamal Al-Solaylee’s new book “Intolerable – A Memoir of Extremes” has all the elements of a fascinating biographical and socio-historical epic:...

  • Bob Paterson-watt

    While the book was not exactly as bad a read as the first word of the title, and while I did learn a thing or two about Yemen and the unravelling of a vibrant open society, I felt like the author was ...

  • Matthew Quann

    Continuing to make my way through CANADA READS' 2015 nominees, I found "Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes" to be the least impressive read to date. Kamal Al-Solaylee's memoir details his struggles to ...

  • Alexis

    I have very mixed feelings about this book, which I read for Canada Reads. I felt like I learned a lot about Yemen and what it is like to grow up in the Middle East if you are gay. That, to me, was th...

  • Lester

    Ahhh..Kamal Komeath (Al-Solaylee)..You are NOT a whiner! When a person is able to live well..that may be selfish..so we all are selfish in that. If you live well..then you are able to help others! A m...

  • Mj

    Intolerable is the perfect name for this memoir. It was intolerable for the author to live in repressive countries where homosexually was not allowed or even acknowledged. Equally intolerable was the ...

  • Jeanne

    Kamal Al-Solaylee's Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes takes place over 35 years, five countries, three continents, and considerable social upheaval. It is a story of a different culture, of repeated i...

  • Navarra

    Kamal Al-Solaylee has written a haunting, no-nonsense autobiography whose main protagonist is a shared union of mother and son. A Janus-like tale in that the reader is invited to see through the eyes ...