After reading the Son of Sin, Omar Sakr’s debut novel (he’s also my favourite poet—click to hear his reading of “Workshop: Borders”), I initially thought—Bildungsroman. However, Sakr’s novel is much more than that. I would put it on par with Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man for modern-day Australia. It tells the story of all of us and yet only Jamal. Of how we want to belong but also be individual—recognised and celebrated for our difference.
how we want to belong but also be individual—recognised and celebrated for our difference
Where this is a work of fiction, I’ve recognised many beautifully phrased images from his poetry in The Lost Arabs and These Wild Houses. Within the covers of his poetry books, he describes growing up gay, and Muslim in Western Sydney and yet depicts far more; as does the novel. Son of Sin is filled with moments of pure cognizance such as:
“Jamal knew he had to learn how to hold a reckoning without retribution, to be present in alignment with the past, instead of at war with it.”Omar Sakr Son of Sin p299
Sakr an accomplished poet uses his lyrical prose to pull you along, caressing you through its confrontations. Brilliant is all I can say. This is worthy of any literary award, and I’ll be deeply disappointed if it’s overlooked. It will be further proof of the mainstream literature’s continued lagging. Son of Sin is topical, the subjects Sakr addresses are relevant for now and yet timeless. A must-read.