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Dorothea Dieckmann, translated by Tom Mohr
160 pages (September 2007); 2.4MB download
Soft Skull Press; ISBN: 1-933368-54-3
Characterized as "one of the best...German novels to be published since the dawn of the new millennium," by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Guantanamo is a modern classic prison novel, an implicit indictment of the Guantanamo gulag, and a novel of fierce moral and descriptive clarity.
Rashid, age twenty, was born in Hamburg as the son of a Muslim Indian father and a German mother. When he travels to India, just after the Afghan war, to claim the inheritance of his grandmother he befriends a young Afghan, and continues his journey to Peshawar where he finds himself in an anti-American demonstration. He is arrested, handed over to the Americans, and in the storeroom of a plane taken to the American base on Cuba, Guantanamo.
What ensues is a remarkable literary experiment, a fictitious text based on meticulous research. In six scenes, the novel tells the life of a prisoner of the camp. With an introspective voice that is both sensitive yet utterly without sentimentality, the novel explores the existential consequences for the prisoner of isolation, suppression and uncertainty, including paralyzing fear, psychotic delusions, the manic identification with Muslim fellow prisoners, and resignation.