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The Angel of History By Rabih Alameddine Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780802125767
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - October 4th, 2016

Rabih Alameddine is the author of An Unnecessary Woman, a staff favorite here and a 2014 National Book Award finalist. If that book was blackly funny and melancholic, this (his newest) is as angry and beautiful as a lit match. Flirtatious, ribald Satan and severe Death try to sway Jacob, a gay Yemeni-born poet who's tormented by memories, to their respective rhetorical positions over the course of one night spent in a San Francisco psychiatric clinic. Satan wants Jacob to remember every painful moment from his life, and Death thinks Jacob should forget them. As Jacob revisits his past while considering each argument's merits, the novel brings its intense focus to bear on political and social issues--the 80s AIDS crisis, tech industry-fueled gentrification, the ongoing US-armed Saudi Arabian bombings in Yemen--that are urgently relevant to the present. It's ambitious, spellbinding, and related in a lyrical style that's easy to sink into.