The Clothesline Swing is a journey through the troublesome aftermath of the Arab Spring. A former Syrian refugee himself, Ramadan unveils an enthralling tale of courage that weaves through the mountains of Syria, the valleys of Lebanon, the encircling seas of Turkey, the heat of Egypt and finally, the hope of a new home in Canada.
Inspired by Arabian Tales of One Thousand and One Nights, The Clothesline Swing tells the epic story of two lovers anchored to the memory of a dying Syria. One is a Hakawati, a storyteller, keeping life in forward motion by relaying remembered fables to his dying partner. Each night he weaves stories of his childhood in Damascus, of the cruelty he has endured for his sexuality, of leaving home, of war, of his fated meeting with his lover. Meanwhile Death himself, in his dark cloak, shares the house with the two men, eavesdropping on their secrets as he awaits their final undoing.
- Winner of the 2018 Fred Kerner Book Award, presented by the Canadian Authors Association.
- Won the Independent Publisher Book Award for Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Fiction
- Longlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads 2018.
- Shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s Evergreen Award 2018.
- Longlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic 2018.
- Finalist for the Gay Fiction Lambda Literary Award 2018.
- Among the Top 100 Books in 2017 by The Globe and Mail.
- Among the Top Ten Best Books in 2017 by Toronto Star.
Re-Releases and Translations
In the press
“The writing is lovely: it’s poetic, lush, lyrical, and rich with magic realism. And the central relationship is breathtakingly tender. The book also really brings old Damascus to life, with its jasmine blooms and twinkling mosque lights.”Tara Henley – CBC
“The Clothesline Swing is an enjoyable, if challenging, cultural and historical excursion.”Gordon Arnold – Winnipeg Free Press
“Ramadan’s delicate use of imagery links these narratives, allowing them to reverberate with meaning and emotion.”Publishers Weekly – Starred Review ⭐️
“This debut novel from the Vancouver-based Syrian writer reads as many things – a coming-out memoir, a history lesson, a critique of authoritarianism, a narrative about sharing narratives – but above all, it’s a requiem for a dying country and people.”– Kamal Al-Solaylee – Quill and Quire. Starred Review ⭐️
“By turns sombre, fantastical, violent and tender, Ahmad Danny Ramadan’s English-language debut is a gay son’s conflicted love letter to Syria – a look on the present from a possible future.”Jade Colbert – The Globe and Mail