Monday, January 4, 2016

Islamic Noir: A Literary Manifesto

This genre, which I appear to have all to myself just now, encompasses my debut novel JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, available from Orenda Books. I got here first, so I'm taking the first pass on the core principles of the movement.

No, I'm not joking. This really is a declaration of literary principles. Compare Dominic Stansberry's brilliant essay NOIR MANIFESTO, one pertinent passage of which appears below:

I am with Stansberry up to a point, but I draw a line at the amorality and anarchy inherent in words like "underworld" and "annihilation." My reboot for the purposes of Islamic Noir appears in the three propositions that follow. I have only included principles I tried to observe in writing my novel.

1. This world in which we find ourselves -- the "dunya" -- can be, and often is, a dark and fleeting thing. Although it is, in a final sense, illusory, our actions within it are what define us.

2. There is a point at which logic fails us in addressing certain crimes, contradictions, inequities, and shortcomings that are inevitable within the world in which we find ourselves. Such aspects of human experience demand a transcendent approach, an approach that is beyond rational engagement.

3. An Islamic perspective on this ongoing struggle is a valid and important contribution to the global coexistence conversation.