Perfect Day Books
Publication: October 25, 2018
144 pages, 5" x 7.75"
About the Book
July, 2016: Three days after the terror attack on Bastille Day, Mohamed Asem is detained overnight by British immigration officials without cause. In an elegantly digressive, self-interrogative style, Asem describes the boredom and uncertainty of confinement, and how this specific kind of helplessness leads, inevitably, to a self-reckoning. What series of events has led to this moment? As a teenager, he was stranded in Paris with his mother during the first Gulf War, while his father remained in Kuwait. He spent his twenties dutifully trying to follow the blueprint for manhood back home in the Middle East, only to cast it all aside after his mother’s early death. Stranger in the Pen examines the burden of being disconnected from one’s homeland, unpacks the emotional toll of racial profiling, and illuminates the quietly surprising ways in which grief can change one’s life.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
"Strikingly gorgeous ... an important and interesting read."
—Portland Mercury 2018 Fall Arts Guide
"If only there were more books like this—then maybe our politics wouldn't be as thoughtless."
—Pauls Toutonghi, author of Evel Kneivel Days
“Asem wryly shows us the modern-day purgatory that often awaits those trying to cross borders who are cursed with a passport or a religion or a race or an ethnicity that is unwanted. His book is an intimate examination of being in-between—whether parents, countries, identities, callings—a condition that many find themselves in possession of in today's world.”
—Alia Malek, author of The Home That Was Our Country: A memoir of Syria
“In spare, moving prose, Mohamed Asem takes us through a suspenseful journey of airport immigration detention while painting an endearing and sometimes sad portrait of a life between cultures. Stranger in the Pen is a meditative look at nationality, home, and how we collectively treat strangers."
—Ben Parzybok, author of Couch and Sherwood Nation
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mohamed's work has appeared in Eunoia Review, What Lies Beneath, and elsewhere. Born in California, raised in Kuwait and Paris, he currently lives in Portland.