Title:- The Foghorn Echoes
Author:- Danny Ramadan
Date published:- will be published on 1st September 2022
No. of pages:- 352 pages
Genre:- LGBTQ Fiction
Overall rating:- 5/5
A deeply moving novel about a forbidden love between two boys in war-torn Syria and the fallout that ripples through their adult lives.
Syria, 2003. A blooming romance leads to a tragic accident when Hussam’s father catches him acting on his feelings for his best friend, Wassim. In an instant, the course of their lives is changed forever.
Ten years later, Hussam and Wassim are still struggling to find peace and belonging. Sponsored as a refugee by a controlling older man, Hussam is living an openly gay life in Vancouver, where he attempts to quiet his demons with sex, drugs, and alcohol. Wassim is living on the streets of Damascus, having abandoned a wife and child and a charade he could no longer keep up. Taking shelter in a deserted villa, he unearths the previous owner’s buried secrets while reckoning with his own.
The past continues to reverberate through the present as Hussam and Wassim come face to face with heartache, history, drag queens, border guards, and ghosts both literal and figurative.
Masterfully crafted and richly detailed, The Foghorn Echoes is a gripping novel about how to carve out home in the midst of war, and how to move forward when the war is within yourself.
Danny Ramadan (also known as Ahmad Danny Ramadan) is a Syrian-Canadian author, public speaker, storyteller and an LGBTQ-refugee activist. His English debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, continues to receive raving reviews.
The book is positively reviewed by Quill and Quire, Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight, Globe and Mail among other publications. Released in May 2017, The Clothesline Swing was named among the Best Books of 2017 by the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star. It was longlisted for Canada Reads 2018 and Shortlisted for the Evergreen Award 2018. It’s also a finalist for the Gay Fiction Category in the Lambda Awards.
He also translated Rafi Badawi’s 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think, and published two collections of short stories in Arabic.
As an LGBTQ activist, he has been involved in coordinating online and on the ground efforts to support Queer and Trans identifying refugees from Syria to immigrate to Canada. Danny runs the annual fundraiser An Evening in Damascus to support those efforts. Since May 2015, he has raised over $100.000 to support a total of eight other LGBTQ-identifying Syrian refugees; and participated in efforts to ensure safe passage to 24 Syrian Queer and Trans refugees to Canada.
His public speaking and storytelling made him a regular presenter in conferences, conventions and storytelling events across Canada. He was a keynote speaker at QMUNITY’s IDAHOT Breakfast, the Liberal Party Convention, Six Degrees Conference, among others. His TEDx talk has gathered thousands of views on YouTube.
He was appointed Grand Marshal for the Vancouver Pride Parade 2016; he was awarded the StandOut Award for his social activism, the RBC’s Top Immigrant in Canada award, and the Bonham Centre Award for Excellency. Ramadan lives in Vancouver since his arrival to Canada in 2014.
This is a touching story about two teenage boys Hassam and Wasim, set in Syria at a time when Americans invaded Iraq. Hassam and Wasim they fall in love and while they were kissing, Hassam’s father caught them and eventually lead to his death. The two boys became estranged afterwards. Now ten years later, Hassam lives in Vancouver, Canada and is openly gay while Wasim still lives in Syria living through the war. The story tells about the lives of these two boys at a time when war erupted in Syria and Hassam’s life as a refugee in Canada.
I have to say, I do like how the story divides between Damascus and Vancouver so the reader will able to get to know both the characters well. I do like how Wasim forms a relationship with a ghost woman named Kalia while living in the abandoned house and how he shares all his secrets with Kalia. Wasim also struggles with his marriage to Rima and his relationship with his child. I actually enjoyed reading those parts. I also liked Hassam’s lifestyle in Canada, how he lives a free life as a gay man. The author had beautifully written the story, making the story whole realistic so we would know what it is really like, living as a gay man in Syria. I also like the author’s style of writing and how it draws the reader into the story. This is one of the unique books I have read and the ending was great as both the boys moved on with their own lives. Truly an emotional and heartbreaking story that will capture the reader–worth five stars!
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.