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Adventures of a Bird-shit Foreigner Paperback – 9 Feb 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Publications Inc (9 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555839827
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555839826
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.4 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,346,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is a searing portrait of a young American-Thai man struggling with his sexual identity. Isa is the product of a GI from Kansas City and a prostitute mother, and Thai society can be cruel to those not of pure breeding - they are called "bird-shit" foreigners. Tossed out by his family, the struggling gay teen learns to live on the street with a local gang before ultimately finding refuge with a local clergyman and his family. Beautifully written and evocative of setting, here is fiction that truly touches the heart.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sulayman X's ('Bilal's Bread') second novel is set in Thailand. Isa (fourteen at the start of the novel; sixteen by its close) is the offspring of a one-night stand between a Thai prostitute mother and a (presumed) American GI father. One consequence is that his skin is "fair-skinned, almost white", for which he is tormented with the epithet in the title by his family and everyone else in his small farming community. Isa's mother left him in this community in the 'care' of his unpleasant grandparents, and returned to Bangkok.

Isa's status as outsider is compounded by the cultural attitude towards his homosexual desires; which, though he attempts to hide them, attract the attention of other boys and men in the community who force him into non-consensual sex. The novel really begins when Isa flees to Bangkok, in search of his long-absent mother. Unable to find her, he becomes a hustler and a heroin user, until he encounters an Imam who encourages him to find escape from his loneliness in the teachings of Islam.

Unlike the excellent 'Bilal's Bread', the writing in "Adventures of..." is somewhat erratic; at times engaging but occasionally flat, hurried and simplistic. Further, this second novel shares little of the emotional pull of Sulayman X's earlier work; and if the protagonist is vaguely plausible and three-dimensional, the other characters are much less so. The book also tends towards moralising, and propagates some harmful cultural myths ("Isa was not yet old enough to make real choices, informed choices").
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Format: Paperback
After reading the fantastic Bilals Bread my hopes were high for Sulayman X's next novel and i wasn't dissapointed! Although at some times the storyline is very similar to Bilals Bread it doesn't matter because the story and characters are so believable. I also liked the fact that we got to see the story from other peoples points of view and not just isa's.

Overall I'm giving this book five stars because I couldn't put it down and I can't wait for the next book from Sulayman X!!! Buy this book now!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
X marks the spot once again 10 Nov. 2006
By Chad Sosna - Published on
Format: Paperback
After loving "Bilal's Bread," the first novel from Sulayman X, I was eager to read this one--and I was not disappointed. This is the story of young Isa, who as the offspring of an American GI and his Thai mother, is known as a "bird-shit foreigner." The story gives a quick overview of his sad upbringing as a half-breed, and launches into his life on a banana plantation, living with his stern grandparents. After watching the workmen, one of them figures out his nature and rapes him. Then several of the men have him.

In physical and emotion pain, he runs away to Shanghai and makes a living the first way he finds how--by working as a young boy male prostitute and living in a public park. When he hits bottom, strung out on heroin, he is discovered by a kindly Muslim family. The healing process begins, but slowly, and haphazardly, as he falls in love with a son in the family who is his same age.

He has always wanted to find his mother, and some other unspoken wishes and dreams come to fruition here. So many fine points are deeply thought out. For instance, the name "Isa," which seems Muslim to the family who takes him in, was really from his careless prostitute mother, who saw a battered sign in the hospital as she was going into labor: "...isa and Mastercard Accepted."

Though there were a few points of self-reflection that came across to me as "tell instead of show" (when the rule is "show instead of tell") the story is so rich, the plot so captivating and Isa's character so well-drawn that I can't give this book less than the top rating. Sulayman X is truly breaking new ground in writing about gay life.
A Very Good Novel 7 Dec. 2013
By guess951 - Published on
Format: Paperback
This was a very intense book. It was very well written and clear to understand. I've read a few books by Sulayman X and really look forward to reading more in this subject matter from him
Peace 7 July 2014
By Robert S. Lemons - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the spiritually hungry converts to Islam who have no place to go, This book is a welcome relief.
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