Blackbodying by Dimitri Nasrallah
Winner of McAuslan First Book Prize in 2005
Blackbodying recounts the first-hand exile stories of two Lebanese citizens and their routes to Canada. Both have been forced to leave their homeland as a result of civil war, but only the first is afforded the opportunities the second so badly wants. His exile, at a very young age, has afforded him an international childhood, an American education, cultural affluence, and the ability to assimilate into almost any society he enters. The second, a destitute, beyond-his-prime optimist named Sameer Gerdak, is afforded nothing of the kind. To think that an Arab foreigner without North American credentials can penetrate this prosperous Canadian reality is a well-worn fiction. So Sameer Gerdak believes. The two protagonists’ paths intersect only slightly, but the result of their meeting is at once profound and chilling.
Blackbodying speaks to the most personal ramifications of civil war, telling the stories of those who can’t shake the idea that something better must exist. Sameer Gerdak and his youthful, anonymous counterpart weave a portrait of humanity that simultaneously attests to our best and worst intentions.
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