You Exist Too Much

You Exist Too Much

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 endeavors to lead an authentic life (O, The Oprah Magazine)

On a hot day in Bethlehem, a 12-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 U.S. and the Middle East―from New York to Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine―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 and obsessions with other people. 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.

Opening up the fantasies and desires of one young woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities, You Exist Too Much is a captivating story charting two of our most intense longings―for love, and a place to call home.

Title:You Exist Too Much
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781948226509
Format Type:

    You Exist Too Much Reviews

  • Roxane

    Hypnotically meandering narrative structure. Deeply compelling protagonist. Lovely sentences. Sexy, in it's own way....

  • Hussein Baher

    Before being sent an arc for this book i remember coming across it and being excited for the lgbt pali representation... Not even halfway through and this book manages to strike every single way to di...

  • Richard Derus

    In a word: WOWSo, okay. Book review of YOU EXIST TOO MUCH is up on my blog. It's too long to fit here. Suffice to say that a 30-something bisexual Palestinian-American woman tells me my life in beauti...

  • JulesGP

    It’s always frustrating when a blurb promises one thing but the book does not follow thru. You Exist intrigued me because it was seemingly a story of culture clash, a young American of Palestinian d...

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    The background of the novel is a woman born to Palestinian parents, who were forced to relocate in 1967. They have family in Lebanon, West Bank, and Jordan, but live in America. Her parents had a vola...

  • Anna Luce

    4 ½ stars (rounded up to 5)“It is a bizarre and unsettling feeling, to exist in a liminal state between two realms, unable to attain full access to one or the other.”Although I'd intended to read...

  • Michelle

    "You exist too much." These are the words of a mother to our unnamed narrator. It is ironic that she would choose these words to berate her child considering that her character comes off too full of h...

  • Tzipora

    First off, I have to say this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. If you’ve been following me for awhile you know I love Middle Eastern lit and obviously as a queer woman who has been ...

  • Catapult

    For fans of Garth Greenwell and Weike Wang, You Exist Too Much is a startling debut novel of desire and doubleness following the life of a young Palestinian American woman caught between cultural, rel...

  • Nenia ?? Queen of Villainy ?? Campbell

    This sounds both heartbreaking and seriously amazing...