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You Exist Too Much

Fiction: General
Unabridged   8 hour(s)
Publication date: 06/30/2020

You Exist Too Much

A Novel

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781696601627
Digital Download ISBN:9781696601610


A "provocative and seductive debut" of desire and doubleness that follows the life of a young Palestinian American woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities as she tries to lead an authentic life (O, the Oprah Magazine).

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Product Description

On a hot day in Bethlehem, a twelve-year-old Palestinian-American girl is yelled at by a group of men outside the Church of the Nativity. She has exposed her legs in a biblical city, an act they deem forbidden, and their judgement will echo on through her adolescence. When our narrator finally admits to her mother that she is queer, her mother’s response only intensifies a sense of shame: "You exist too much," she tells her daughter.

Told in vignettes that flash between the US and the Middle East, Zaina Arafat's debut novel traces her protagonist's progress from blushing teen to sought-after DJ and aspiring writer. In Brooklyn, she moves into an apartment with her first serious girlfriend and tries to content herself with their comfortable relationship. But soon her longings, so closely hidden during her teenage years, explode out into reckless romantic encounters. Her desire to thwart her own destructive impulses will eventually lead her to The Ledge, an unconventional treatment center that identifies her affliction as "love addiction." In this strange, enclosed society she will start to consider the unnerving similarities between her own internal traumas and divisions and those of the places that have formed her.

You Exist Too Much is a captivating story charting two of our most intense longings—for love, and a place to call home.


"Naqvi brings a lilting energy to a story that explores the taboo of queerness in an Islamic society. She creates a vivid auditory journey to match the one the heroine takes as she moves from her Palestinian village to the freedom of Brooklyn, and life beyond." -AudioFile

Author Bio

Zaina Arafat is a Palestinian-American writer. Her stories and essays have appeared in publications including the New York Times, Granta, the Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, BuzzFeed, VICE, and NPR. She grew up between the US and the Middle East and currently lives in Brooklyn.