A deeply moving novel about a forbidden love between two boys in war-torn Syria and the fallout that ripples through their adult lives.
Syria, 2003. A blooming romance leads to a tragic accident when Hussam’s father catches him acting on his feelings for his best friend, Wassim. In an instant, the course of their lives is changed forever.
Ten years later, Hussam and Wassim are still struggling to find peace and belonging. Sponsored as a refugee by a controlling older man, Hussam is living an openly gay life in Vancouver, where he attempts to quiet his demons with sex, drugs, and alcohol. Wassim is living on the streets of Damascus, having abandoned a wife and child and a charade he could no longer keep up. Taking shelter in a deserted villa, he unearths the previous owner’s buried secrets while reckoning with his own.
The past continues to reverberate through the present as Hussam and Wassim come face to face with heartache, history, drag queens, border guards, and ghosts both literal and figurative.
Masterfully crafted and richly detailed, The Foghorn Echoes is a gripping novel about how to carve out home in the midst of war, and how to move forward when the war is within yourself.
About the author
DANNY RAMADAN is an award-winning Syrian-Canadian author, activist, and public speaker. His work as an activist has helped provide a safe passage to dozens of Syrian LGBTQ+ refugees to Canada. He is the author of two novels for adults, The Clothesline Swing and The Foghorn Echoes, and a forthcoming memoir, Crooked Teeth. Danny lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“The Foghorn Echoes is a deeply moving book about conflict both internal and external, the ways in which cold accidents—of birth, of place, of time—can leave a human being at war with their own desires, their own sense of self. Danny Ramadan is a gifted, sensitive excavator of the things that break people and put them back together, the past as weight and lightness. In this novel he has created a world of immense sensory and emotional precision, at once true in its living details and yet electric with the presence of ghosts.”
—Omar El Akkad, author of What Strange Paradise
“‘Treat your thoughts like hurt children. They haven’t learned yet how to handle pain.’ So says a wise ghost in Danny Ramadan’s sweeping and mesmerising story that spans time and mortal space so expertly and elegantly. This is a beautiful novel, written by a once hurt child and loved and deeply admired by another—me.”
—Alan Cumming, author of Baggage
“A heart-wrenching and gorgeous tale that spans across borders and time. Danny Ramadan introduces us to Hussam and Wassim, granting us intimate access to their desires, flaws, secrets, failures, and triumphs. They grapple with the consequences of their identities, attempt to quench their longings and loneliness, and find and make peace within themselves against the backdrop of war, migration, queerness, and the echoes of their particular histories. The Foghorn Echoes is a probing and triumphant story, deftly rendered with depth, compassion, lightness, and joy.”
—Francesca Ekwuyasi, author of Butter Honey Pig Bread
“The Foghorn Echoes reminded me of The Kite Runner, with its characters haunted by love and hunted by loss—across oceans, timelines, and warzones. This is a contemporary, mystical, and timeless novel about friendship, loss, acceptance, hope, but most of all love. I didn’t want it to end.”
—Lemn Sissay, author of My Name Is Why
“I’ve read many stories about love and war. Few have moved me this much. The Foghorn Echoes is marvellous: subtle but dramatic, tender but urgent, and beautifully written. I’ll be thinking about it for a very long time.”
—Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee
“The Foghorn Echoes bristles. It burns bright. It shouts into the dark with a voice that hovers between a melody and a lamentation. Danny Ramadan writes in these pages with a spellbinding urgency, stripping bare some of the most painful and fundamental truths about displacement and grief, about rage and betrayal. In the process, he reminds us again and again that even the worst of memories contain redemptive powers. This novel is a tender and impassioned love story for a country, for a people, and for all those who refuse to disappear quietly into the land of the forgotten.”
—Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King