WEIL WIR LÄNGST WOANDERS SIND/
BECAUSE WE’RE ELSEWHERE NOW
Fiction, ca. 160 pp., Spring 2016
English sample available
“A knock-out of a novel [...] In a time in which many self-styled experts feel compelled to spout supposed certainties about “the Arabs” or “Islam” into the world, there could hardly be a more timely book than this one.” Jenny Hoch, Die Zeit, HH
“In her debut novel Rasha Khayat describes intelligently and amusingly the dilemma faced by young people like herself. She also provides us with a view past all the Middle Eastern cli-ches.” Meike Schnitzler, Brigitte
“Khayat has at her command an ideologically unobstructed perspective. Her straight-as-an-arrow novel attempts to decrease the severity of various prejudices, while simultaneously relativizing the unconditional affirmation of the West. This can only help in a time like this.” Christoph Schröder, Die Zeit
“Sensitive, distinct, calm, and permeated by a quiet melancholy. [...] Khayat creates intelligible characters without psychologizing.” Hanna Klimpe, TAZ Nord
“Rasha Khayat has written a smart, important, and very touching book. In my opinion, this belongs among the best books of the year to date.” Gesa Wegeng, WDR 1LIVE
“In her very timely book, Rasha Khayat memorably describes the rootlessness, uncertainty, and dilemmas faced by the second generation of immigrants.” - Petra Pluwatsch, Kölner Stadtanzeiger
“Khayat knows how to strengthen the impression of always being a short distance ahead via a consistent stylistic mechanism: the flashback. [...] Debut novels seem to favor flashbacks about as much as they prefer first-person narrators. But they are justified in this case, because this narrative style, full of breaks, reflects what Basil and Layla have suffered: a lifetime full of fractures.” - Till-Reimer Stoldt, Welt am Sonntag
“The actual strength of this book is the naturalness with which the author describes both so-cieties. She also has no fear in calling the problems by their proper names, unexcitedly and honestly. Contemporary German literature could use much more of this kind of thing.”
Sophie Elmenthaler, Der Freitag
“A debut novel on an urgently critical topic with a very deliberate, unconventional view of the events.” - Julya Rabinowich, Der Standard
“Because We’ve Long Been Somewhere Else offers a fascinating view into the psyche of someone teetering on the edge of despair, while caught in the fissure formed by two different, practically unblendable cultures.” - Carolin Courts, WDR 5 / BÜCHER
“Impressively sensitive, as well as lucid. [...] Rasha Khayat has written a very strong book that conveys the discomfort experienced by migrants more effectively than scholarly studies.” - Iris Hetscher, Weser Kurier
“With Rasha Khayat, a strong, new voice has arrived in literature. Reflecting great intelligence, wit, and never-ending beauty, she tells of a world, the likes of which we have never heard of before. Simply marvelous.” - Olga Grjasnowa
A gentle, empathic story of a brother and sister and a book about a Saudi Arabia very different from the one we hear of in the news.
How are we supposed to get there if we are already somewhere else?
Layla and Basil are like binary stars, inseparable siblings who belong together and nothing can come between them. Together they are a unit of two against the world. Then Layla makes a decision that nobody understands, but which changes everything: She decides to marry. A man form the old home, Saudi-Arabia. A decision not made out of love, but out of principle. In doing so, she is giving up one life for the sake of another – one that she does not know, that she has never lived and which was denied to her by her parents’ decision to bring the children to Germany.
“Because We Are Already Somewhere Else” tells the story of Basil’s journey to his sister’s wedding. A last time he wants to fee the old closeness. At the same time the journey leads him directly into his own past: the charmingly crazy cosmos of his Saudi relatives – people who were never present in his “German life” and, at the same time, were always there like a parallel universe.
What could have convinced Layla, a young, secular, freedom loving woman, to want to go to a land in which women are anything but free? How can we confront such feelings of foreignness, when they cannot be addressed in the Here and How? Is our Western freedom perhaps a simple claim rather than a reality, now that nobody is fighting for it any longer – nobody sees what a treasure it is? The author not only asks painful questions, but finds answers to them that are every bit as uncomfortable as the questions themselves, because they touch the inner self.
Rights sold: Al-Arabi (Arab); Actes Sud (French);
Rasha Khayat, geboren 1978 in Dortmund, wuchs in Jeddah, Saudi-Arabien, auf. Als sie elf war, siedelte ihre Familie nach Deutschland zurück. Sie studierte Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaften, Germanistik und Philosophie in Bonn. Seit 2005 lebt sie in Hamburg und arbeitet als freie Autorin, Übersetzerin und Lektorin. 2010 war sie Stipendiatin der Jürgen-Ponto-Stiftung.