Hijab Butch Blues
‘A masterful, must-read contribution to conversations on power, justice, healing, and devotion from a singular voice I now trust with my whole heart’
GLENNON DOYLE, author of Untamed
**Roxane Gay’s Book Club March 2023 Pick**
When Lamya is fourteen, she decides to disappear.
It seems easier to ease herself out of sight than to grapple with the difficulty of taking shape in a world that doesn’t fit. She is a queer teenager growing up in a Muslim household, a South Asian in a Middle Eastern country. But during her Quran class, she reads a passage about Maryam, and suddenly everything shifts: if Maryam was never touched by any man, could Maryam be… like Lamya?
Written with deep intelligence and a fierce humour, Hijab Butch Blues follows Lamya as she travels to the United States, as she comes out, and as she navigates the complexities of the immigration system – and the queer dating scene. At each step, she turns to her faith to make sense of her life, weaving stories from the Quran together with her own experiences: Musa leading his people to freedom; Allah, who is neither male nor female; and Nuh, who built an ark, just as Lamya is finally able to become the architect of her own story.
Raw and unflinching, Hijab Butch Blues heralds the arrival of a truly original voice, asking powerful questions about gender and sexuality, relationships, identity and faith, and what it means to build a life of one’s own.
A masterful, must-read contribution to conversations on power, justice, healing, and devotion from a singular voice I now trust with my whole heart, Lamya H.'s gorgeously written and life-affirming debut Hijab Butch Blues traces the intertwining of faith and doubt, and invites us all to a deeper, more loving way to live -- Glennon Doyle, author of UNTAMED With a supple skill, Hijab Butch Blues treats gender and devotion with a thrilling sense of multiplicity and expansiveness. This is a book attentive to the fullness of being human. Among the meshes of power and orthodoxy, Lamya H. moves with curiosity, humour and vulnerability, divining new sources of hope and of life. -- Sean Hewitt, author of ALL DOWN DARKNESS WIDE A singular memoir about identity, queerness, racism and resistance which engages with the Islamic faith in open, nuanced and quietly radical ways. I love Lamya's intimate, intelligent and honest voice -- Arifa Akbar, author of CONSUMED Lamya H has accomplished in words all the tenderness, defiance, and nuance that their story demands. To be invited into the richness of their interior world - the beauty of childhood skepticism, the complexity of Muslim storytelling, and the glory of life in a queer body - is no minor gift. Hijab Butch Blues is for anyone coming home to themselves in a world content to disorient us. Lamya H will show us the way -- Cole Arthur Riley, author of This Here Flesh HIjab Butch Blues is a revelation, an emotional journey of faith, family, community and sexuality. With precision, compassion, and deeply observed storytelling, Lamya H - a new, distinctive voice - navigates the fault lines of life and love in a queer Muslim body -- Linda Villarosa, author of UNDER THE SKIN A richly textured and deeply moving testament to the power of faith - not only in the divine, but in the human spirit. In spare yet poetic prose, the author gifts us with stories from her quest to find belonging as a queer hijabi immigrant in America. Leaping effortlessly from the personal to the political, Hijab Butch Blues is one of those rare texts that seamlessly weaves trenchant social analysis with gorgeous storytelling skill. This book is sure to become a queer classic -- Kai Cheng Thom, author of FIERCE FEMMES AND NOTORIOUS LIARS Despite contending with secrets and silence and shame, Lamya H has been brave enough and bold enough to live her own dynamic life: Muslim, queer, politically radical, devoted to her faith. Using memoir, theological discussions of Quranic surahs, and critical reflection on American culture and society, Lamya has fashioned in this book what I never thought possible: she describes a world in which I could live -- Kazim Ali, author of FASTING FOR RAMADAN
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