Prisoner of Fashion, couture and humor on the surveillance battlefield

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Photo by Flickr (cc) user selva.

I have got to read “From the Memoirs of a Non-­Enemy Combatant,” by Alex Gilvarry.

Gilvarry tells the story of Boyet Hernandez, a Filipino-­born fashion designer who finds himself at Guantánamo as the first detainee captured on United States soil. He decides to bring the place a little flair by removing the sleeves from his orange jumpsuit.

Says the New York Times book review: “And yes, you’ll snort at the novel’s footnotes, many of which exist as supposed correctives to the text of this diminutive inmate’s “confession” (in which he mis­attributes quotations to Coco Chanel that properly belong to Nietzsche, for ­example). Truly, you’ll think, if the proverbial knock in the night can happen to this sweet Dummkopf, it can happen to anyone.

“In many ways, this novel is a left-handed love letter to America. Whether describing New York’s subway system (“a rubber band of sexual tension, stretched and twined around the boroughs, ready to snap”) or the Bronxville campus of Sarah Lawrence (with its “imposing Tudor buildings magnificently lit” and “crisp fallen leaves, like cinnamon and dried flower petals”), Gilvarry shows that he cherishes a country he clearly feels is at risk.” 


Author: ireneflorez

Bogotá-born, Oakland-based media bee.

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