Today I started reading, The Clothesline Swing by Ahmad Danny Ramadan (now Danny Ramadan), which was kindly lent to me by a fellow blogger @TravelsinFiction as part of a book swap we hosted a couple of weeks ago. Though I had no prior knowledge of this book, it is fortunately turning out to be an immersive page-turner that a generally slow and steady reader like myself may very well end up completing all in one-sitting.
The Clothesline Swing is an Own Voices contemporary book written by an LGBTQ+ Syrian-Canadian refugee and it is about an elderly gay couple, one of whom is on the cusp of death. Their love story is a poetic harmony of reminiscent ‘tales’ about of their youthful love affair in Damascus, old flames, parental trauma and remnants of their war bridled past, told through traded stories and relived memories. In other words, I’m enjoying it a lot! And it is the inspiration behind today’s post, the aim of which is to recommend Own Voices books.
Own Voices books are typically known as books that feature protagonists from marginalised communities that were written by authors who share those same characteristics. In the case of The Clothesline Swing, Danny Ramadan like his two main characters; the ‘hakawati’ (storyteller) and his lover, is a gay Syrian born refugee. Therefore like his characters, he will have had firsthand experiences steepled in homophobia, lack of acceptance and anti-immigrant biases. These books make for unrivalled insight into the complexities and obstacles faced by certain groups of individuals, such experiences that others may never encounter in their lives – and are therefore likely to dismiss – because of the latter group’s affinity towards privilege.
Needless to say my initial impressions of this book are overwhelmingly positive and somehow I get the feeling I’ll love it just as much by the end, but I’ll save that until the review. Based on the first hundred pages I’ve read so far, I would recommend The Clothesline Swing as mature reading for those readers who prefer a slow burner with romantic poeticism.
Below are some more Own Voices recommendations that I loved reading and would strongly recommend;
Thank you for reading! x Please let me know in the comments if there are any other Own Voices Books you would recommend. ~
Recent Book Review: Lead From The Outside by Stacey Abrams. In this self-help memoir, American politician and businesswoman, Stacey Abrams, discusses how minority groups in white-dominated professional circles can create opportunities that fuel ambition and lead to success.