About the Book



A Novel
March 2007
Trade Paperback · 192 Pages
$14.00 U.S. · $18.00 CAN · €9.99 E.U.
ISBN 9781933368542
Soft Skull Press


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At the beginning of the Afghan war, young Rashid, born in Hamburg to an Indian father and a German mother, travels to India to claim an inheritance. There, he befriends a young Afghan and continues his journey to Peshawar, where he ends up in the middle of an anti-American demonstration. He is arrested, handed over to the Americans, and taken to the notorious Guantanamo.

What ensues is a remarkable literary experiment, a novel based on meticulous research. In six scenes, it describes Rashid’s life at the camp. Sensitive yet utterly unsentimental, the novel explores the existential consequences of isolation, suppression, and uncertainty — paralyzing fear, psychotic delusions, manic identification with fellow prisoners, and ultimately, resignation. Written with fierce moral clarity and a remarkable economy of expression, Guantanamo functions as both a political statement and a fascinating examination of the prisoner/jailer relationship.

About the Authors

Born in 1957 at Freiburg im Breisgau, Dorothea Dieckmann studied literature and philosophy before launching herself as an essayist and literary critic. In 1990 she was awarded for her short stories the Hamburg prize for literature; in 1996 for her novella Die Schwere und die leichte Liebe ["Heavy Love, Light Love"] she received the Marburg prize for literature. Other literary publications of hers are Wie Engel Erscheinen ["How Angels Appear"] (1994), Belice im Mannerland – Eine wahre Geschichte ["Belice in Male Chauviedom – A True History"] (1997) and Damen & Herren ["Ladies & Gentlemen"] (2002). This is the first novel by Dieckmann in English.

Daniel Slager is editor-in-chief at Milkweed Editions, having previously been an Editor at Harcourt and an Associate Editor at Grand Street. His translations of texts by Bertolt Brecht, Franz Kafka, and Heiner Muller have been widely acclaimed, and his renderings of Durs Graenbein, Marcel Beyer, Felicitas Hoppe, and Terazia Mora have marked these authors' first publications in the U.S. He is the recipient of the 2005 Ungar German Translation Award bestowed biennially in odd-numbered years for a distinguished literary translation from German into English.