Nejoud Al-Yagout Releases Debut Novel
Poet, essayist, and founder of Co-Exist Kuwait releases her first novel Motorbikes and Camels.
Kuwait – Nejoud Al-Yagout has released her debut novel from Luminare Press. Threading together the narratives of multiple protagonists during their journey to distinguish between their culture and their true selves, Motorbikes and Camels confronts the need for tolerance and acceptance in a society steeped in dogma.
Drawing from her own experience as a Kuwaiti as well as a soul of the universe, Al-Yagout brings a relatable and essential voice not normally seen in Middle Eastern literature. While the Kuwaiti narrative has traditionally been overlooked, Al-Yagout masterfully brings not only one worthy new voice to the table, but several through her dynamic and reflective characters. The novel also tackles controversial but needed topics such as LGBTQ+ relationships, gender roles, apostasy, and other hard truths.
The unique, interlaced narratives of different characters per chapter examine the individual hardships many people face in relationships and as members of a larger community. The first character is Salma, a woman grappling with her loss of faith and a desire to travel as she navigates unknown spiritual terrain. Another character is Hussam, a privileged man in society attempting to conceal his sexuality. The character, Mohammed, loses more than he ever imagines after using his religious rights to marry a second wife; while Mike appropriates Kuwaiti culture to escape his collapsed world. Overall, Motorbikes and Camels directly confronts the financial, social, and ideological divides in Kuwait.
An excerpt from the book captures its commitment to the coexistence of beliefs and cultures while challenging the status quo:
“Why is it our way or the highway to hell? We talk about Islamophobia, but we have everything here: Sikh-phobia, Buddhist-phobia, Judeo-phobia, Christo-phobia, Jain-phobia, agnostic-phobia, atheist-phobia. Isn’t it strange we have mosques on every corner and just a handful of churches? And nothing else. No temples. No synagogues. No ashrams. No gurdwaras. Come on, Hussam. Wake up. If we want respect, we have to give it to others.”
The book is available on Amazon and Kindle.
For more information about Al-Yagout, Motorbikes and Camels, and future projects, visit www.nejoudalyagout.com or her Instagram account @coexistkuwait.