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The Bamboo Stalk

by Saud Alsanousi

Who do you think you are? It's a hard question for Jose/Isa. Born in Kuwait raised in Manila, is he Christian, Muslim or Buddhist? His mother's family is poor, his father's rich, where does he fit? Almost like a fairy tale, the hero sets out to seek his fortune in Kuwait - and dark themes follow him as oppression exists in both countries, of women, the poor, minorities. Will he ever be able to find acceptance, a home, love and happiness?

Extract

If only my parents could have given me a single, clear identity, instead of making me grope my way alone through life in search of one. Then I would have just one name that would make me turn when someone called me. I would learn its national anthem. Its trees and streets would shape my memories and in the end I would rest in its soil. I would have one religion I could believe in instead of having to set myself up as the prophet of a religion that was mine alone.
Translated by Jonathan Wright

Parallels

Blackanese Boy by Ramon Calhoun
The Color of Water by James McBride
 

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