Advance reader reviews of In Praise of Hatred by Khaled Khalifa.

In Praise of Hatred

By Khaled Khalifa

In Praise of Hatred
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2014,
    320 pages.

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There are currently 17 member reviews
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  • Diane C. (Nashville, TN)

    Growing up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    The author made a powerful decision by leaving the narrator nameless. In some ways, she is always the "other" that we cannot know, but at the same time she is everywoman. Her situation - growing up isolated, deeply repressed by religious beliefs, surrounded by liars - is not unique to her time (the eighties) and place (Syria.) Fear of secular culture and unreasonable definitions of chastity shape women's lives all over.
    Hatred is the word the narrator uses to explain the walls she places between herself and those persons and objects that she must deny herself in order to survive. In order to give her will so completely to her family's beliefs, she cannot lust after the lifestyle of others. She even uses hatred to describe her feelings about her body.
    It becomes apparent how terribly victimized this narrator is as she contemplates such violence as a response to her jealousy of the girls who easily live a freer life. The story is beautifully rendered, and yet hard to read. The insipid way this girl's life was destroyed is filled with both the small details of her life and the larger picture of Syria's war. This girl has placed faith in her religious practice and in her family's position to protect her, and in the end she is failed by both.
  • Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI)

    Poor for me but maybe good for others
    Even using the extensive list of main characters I found it difficult to follow the character lines. I would read a couple of pages and then find myself in 'another place' and would have to retrace to where I had begun reading. Perhaps I should give up on translated novels. I didn't enjoy this one.
  • Catherine M. (Mankato, MN)

    In Praise of Hatred
    Khaled Khalifa, author of In Praise of Hatred contends—in the book's forward written by Robin Yassin-Kassab—that he does not want us to read his book because he is an oppressed writer; rather, he asks that we read it because we are interested in the story and because we enjoy it.

    First, I am interested in Middle Eastern life, religion, history, and politics while admitting that my understanding here is fragmented and woefully naïve. In all honesty, Khalifa's book served to increase my confusion, especially concerning the events leading up to and during Aleppo's war between Islamist rebels and the Mukhabarat and how this event fit into a larger framework.

    Second, some men can write stories in a female voice; others cannot. I would put Khalifa in the later group. The unnamed narrator's lustful obsessions, for example, were not thoughts I would attribute to a woman's worldview. Therefore, I did not find the book enjoyable.
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