A humorous account of a nine-year wait
Amsterdam Airport, 1998. Samir Karim steps off a plane from Vietnam, flushes his fake passport down the toilet, and requests asylum. Fleeing Iraq to avoid conscription into Saddam Hussein’s army, he has spent seven years anonymously wandering through Asia. Now, safely in the heart of Europe, he is sent to an asylum center and assigned a bed in a shared dorm—where he will spend the next nine years. As he navigates his way around the absurdities of Dutch bureaucracy, Samir tries his best to get along with his 500 new housemates. Told with compassion and a unique sense of humor, this is an inspiring tale of survival, a close-up view into the hidden world of refugees and human smugglers, and a sobering reflection of our times.
9 January, 2020
‘This frank and poetic account of a life in limbo yields a story with universal power that transcends borders and cultures, with more than a touch of Catch-22’s black humor.’ —Shelf Awareness
‘A challenging portrait of Dutch hospitality. Absolutely recommended’ —The Correspondent
‘The dilemma of the desire for survival set against one’s moral compass brings to mind George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London; Samir’s attempts to make the best of his protracted detention has much in common with the plight of the stateless Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg’s film The Terminal.’ —DUTCH FOUNDATION FOR LITERATURE
‘Al Galidi writes this novel based on his own experiences, but he manages to cover that up so well with his fluent writing style, a sense of humor and an absence of resentment. A real feat in his case. The lighthearted way in which he writes about tragic experiences makes this a very impactful book.’ —KRISTIEN HEMMERECHTS, author of The Woman Who Fed the Dogs
‘Two Blankets, Three Sheets is an interesting, rich novel on fear, insecurity, arbitrariness and hopelessness.’ —GUUS BAUER, author of Bird Boy