How to End a War: Remnants of Hope and Terror in Danny Ramadan’s The Foghorn Echoes


In the novel, The Foghorn Echoes (2022) by Danny Ramadan, readers are introduced to two young men, Hussam and Wassim, who love each other but whose lives are forever changed by a terrible event. Though this event marks the beginning of their end, they are met with several encounters that continue to separate them, as they grapple with what it means to be queer in Syria and what it means to be refugees elsewhere. Both their stories, told back and forth between the two young men, reveal the cruel optimism that is situated in the relationship between the good life and the queer struggle of romantic life. In other words, their desire for a better life as queer refugees becomes cruel when it becomes an obstacle in and of itself. For Hussam, readers witness this devastating blow as he is haunted by the death of his father and then by his separation from Wassim, as he struggles to build a better life in the nation-state of Canada. Wassim, on the other hand, has become a refugee in his own homeland, in this case, Syria during the Civil War, and he comes to view himself as a problematic object. Through both of their lives, it is revealed that the reality of queer Syrian refugees is inseparable from the complicated and oppressive histories that mark them such as the war and their forbidden love, whether they remain in the homeland or seek to build a good life somewhere else.
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