Tuesday 13 September 2022

Book Review: Black Foam by Haji Jabir (Literary Fiction)

Title: Black Foam
Author: Haji Jabir
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publication Date: 7 February 2023
Pages: 209
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

From award-winning Eritrean author Haji Jabir comes a profoundly intimate novel about one man’s tireless attempt to find his place in the world.

Dawoud is on the run from his murky past, aiming to discover where he belongs. He tries to assimilate into different groups along his journey through North Africa and Israel, changing his clothes, his religious affiliations, and even his name to fit in, but the safety and peace he seeks remain elusive. It seems prejudice is everywhere, holding him back, when all he really wants is to create a simple life he can call his own. A chameleon, Dawoud—or David, Adal, or Dawit, depending on where and when you meet him—is not lost in this whirl of identities. In fact, he is defined by it.

Dawoud’s journey is circuitous and specific, but the desire to belong is universal. Spellbinding to the final page, Black Foam is both intimate and grand in scale, much like the experiences of the millions of people migrating to find peace and safety in the twenty-first century.


Black Foam was a fascinating read on many fronts. As well as being a well-written story, it was also interesting to learn about the migration of African Jews to Israel, as it was something I had never heard about before. The book covers several themes, but in particular it highlights the search for 'home' and the difficult experience faced by migrants, both in respect to the authorities and the extant inhabitants of their new cities, who are not always welcoming. A short but thought-provoking piece, Black Foam is definitely well worth a read. It gets four stars from me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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