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Guantanamo: A Novel Paperback – 29 May 2008

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'Extraordinary novel ... a finely judged balance of art and anguish ... Dieckmann's potently empathetic novel shows more clearly than any amount of CNN footage that the battle continues, but neither side is winning' --Michel Faber, Guardian

'One of the best, if not the best German novel to be published since the dawn of the new millennium' -- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 'Dieckmann's close focus pays off, like a blow to the head' --Publisher's Weekly

'An unforgiving read ... disorienting and scouringly brutal ... beautifully written' -- L Magazine. 'Released in the author's native Germany, where it's been hailed as a modern classic, Guantanamo is a harrowing work of fiction ... While non-fiction books on this topic proliferate, it's Dieckmann's novel that takes us deepest into the personal horror of the modern American gulag' --Time Out Chicago (five starred review)

About the Author

Dorothea Dieckmann is an essayist and literary critic. She received the Hamburg Prize for Literature in 1990 and the Marbury Prize for Literature for her novella 'Die Schwere und die leichte Liebe' ['Heavy Love, Light Love'] in 1996. This is her first novel translated into English.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Citizen of a Lonely Planet 4 Nov. 2007
By Matt Briggs - Published on
Format: Paperback
Rashid, a German tourist of Indian decent, using a Lonely Planet Guide to look for an adventure in the postwar zone of Afghanistan, finds himself rounded up by American soldiers under murky circumstances. The normally lucid handles of nationality and religion dissolve as Rashid finds himself bagged, tagged an enemy, and carted to a small cage stowed in rows alongside other cages filled with men with similar varied and confusing stories. Everyone imprisoned has been reduced to an enemy combatant. In turn, the male and female American soldiers who watch over them are also reduced to the role of interrogator.

Like Beckett's Malone, this novel spends pages dwelling on the mesmerizing physical minutiae of the protagonist. He is a bundle of frayed nerves trying to cling to consciousness in a situation where any sense of context has been removed by senseless forces. In Beckett, this might be an existential crises, in Guantanomo this is Dick Cheney's war without end. Rashid watches sunlight. A gecko takes up residence behind a plywood panel. The gecko, too, is in prison, and the protagonist's imprisonment makes just as much sense. Increasingly, national boundaries only make sense for the larger multi-national structures like the World Bank. For citizens of the world, whether they are workers being detained in the United States for lacking the applicable administrative paperwork or they are tourists traveling for dubious reasons in Afghanistan it makes as much sense to imprison these people as it does to lock up geckos, spiders, and moths. This excellent short novel directly confronts the confusion of citizenship and identity in the context of Globalism where terrorism, war, or even Lonely Planet Guide tourism are not constrained by national boundaries.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent read! 5 Dec. 2007
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Definitely worth a read, if only to grasp the loss of self that accompanies relentless and prolonged dehumanisation.
1 of 16 people found the following review helpful
One Side in a Propaganda War 25 Nov. 2007
By Privacy - Published on
Format: Paperback
A strong piece of Islamist propaganda written by someone from the far Left. Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. No mention is made of the soccer games or video movie watching.

Guantanamo is a maximum security prison and should be seen as such. It holds some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world, whose stated goals are are killing "unbelievers" by the thousands. Why these people receive sympathy and support from the Far Left is beyond understanding.
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