This chapter retrospectively explores Rabih Alameddine’s fiction dealing with
the Lebanese diaspora in the USA: The Hakawati, I, the Divine, and
KOOLAIDS: The Art of War. The chapter initially considers The
Hakawati’s reinscription of homosexuality in Islamic (hi)stories and its
problematic censorship in contemporary Lebanese communities. Such a
disorientation of heteropatriarchal mores is rendered possible through
Alameddine’s ‘druzification’ of history – a pun on Rushdie’s ‘chutnification
of history’ – from his diasporic perspective, by adapting and interweaving
stories, histories, and religious texts in a manner that syncretises them.
It then examines the queering of gender performance in I, the Divine,
a novel that critiques both Druze patriarchy and homonormativity in the
West. It concludes by analysing the queering of time and place, via
Judith/Jack Halberstam, in KOOLAIDS, a novel that, it is argued,
assembles the Lebanese Civil War, the American AIDS crisis, as well as
America and Lebanon, through a queer Muslim pseudo-prophetic narrator living
with AIDS. It is proposed that Mohammad irreverently dismantles
heteronormative scriptural exegesis and amalgamates sacred texts in order to
defy literalist religious orthodoxies. It is also suggested that
KOOLAIDS posits a form of queer family at a remove from the
prescriptions of bloodlines.
This chapter pinpoints 27 December 1601 as the date of the first performance
of Twelfth Night – and demonstrates that Shakespeare wrote his play for two
audiences, one at Elizabeth’s Court, the other at the Inns of Court.