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The Tyrant's Novel

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  125 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
An intelligent, moral take on a highly topical issue - this will take Thomas Keneally to a new level, gaining him a new generation of fans
Paperback
Published December 1st 2004 by Sceptre (first published 2003)
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Paul Bryant
Jan 30, 2011 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
Keneally writes a novel which is all about the fate of intellectuals and artists in Iraq in the UN sanctions period. He then saddles himself with two very awkward conventions which do the book no favours at all. First, I guess if you're writing about a contemporary government, you cloak the country's real name and change all the names of the towns and rivers and so forth. Maybe this is to avoid the lawyers or an icepick in the back of the head. The ghost of Salman Rushdie must appear to writers ...more
Alissa
Mar 22, 2014 Alissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With more knowledge about the politics of the time this was written and more information about some of the people or events mentioned this would've been more enjoyable. Even without prior knowledge this was an interesting read though. Recommended if you're into politics, foreign affairs or anything along those lines.
Nancy
Feb 02, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it
This book left me sad and unsure what to say about it. It’s a bit like Kafka, but far too real for that comparison to really work. I think the main thing about it is that the narrator’s voice is so infused with grief—for his wife, for his people, for the horrible things people do to each other and for the lack of any clear solutions to the horrors. Initially, I had trouble getting the narrative situated in my mind. Keneally has taken a fictionalized Iraq under Saddam Hussein and populated it wit ...more
Sarah
Mar 26, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
A promising premise let down by a story that simply wasn't that interesting. Life under the fictionalised dictator was obviously potentially dangerous but you could still get decent coffee and life seemed to go on as ever. At one point the protagonist has to dig up a grave in order to inject drama into the otherwise dull writing process. I loved the Anglicisation of the names though - it was a inspired way to universalise the story.
Denise Drespling
Jan 31, 2015 Denise Drespling rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-school, own-it
Minus whatever political agenda it may have, for me, this book was a tale of a man who has suffered, been faced with extreme decisions, and suffered some more. It is an emotional journey, captivating and brought forth by a writer with great skill. Keneally has a way of showing deep emotion without making it overly dramatic. Instead, his characters suffer quietly, but realistically. I can imagine that people in other countries, not so lucky as ours to be free, face situations like this. I can't w ...more
Russell
May 05, 2015 Russell rated it really liked it
A novel for our times - Keneally's story tells of an Iraqi asylum-seeker whose work brought him dangerously close to Great Uncle, a fictitious parallel of Saddam Hussein. Like many of Keneally's works, there is well-documented historical fact to support a tragic human story. For Australians, there is a sinister message, and an even more sinister question from this 10-year-old story: we have treated refugees incredibly badly - but why have we been doing it for so long? Nothing has improved in the ...more
Noel
Jun 08, 2014 Noel rated it really liked it
Interesting premise
Maxine
Aug 28, 2015 Maxine rated it it was ok
Very disappointed, I didn't enjoy this at all.
Marvin
Aug 05, 2009 Marvin rated it liked it
A strange political fable narrated by a writer who lives in a deliberately ambiguous geographical location (with elements of both the Middle East & Africa) under a brutal dictator, who commissions the writer to ghostwrite a novel drawing attention to the injustice of the sanctions imposed on the country by the U.S. Ingenious but not as compelling as Office of Innocence.
Arghavan
از این جهت که کاملا منطبق بر اوضاع سیاسی و اقتصادی ایران بود برام جالب بود. گرچه میتونه دربارهی هرکشور دیگهای در خاورمیانه یا آفریقا باشه.
این قسمت هم برام خیلی ملموس بود که باوجود نفرتی که آلن از عموی کبیر داشت، وقتی باهاش روبرو شد ناخودآگاه احساس احترام کرد. چیزی که گاهی خودم هم نسبت به بعضی دیکتاتورها در خودم احساس میکنم و برام خیلی عجیبه.
...more
Benito
May 23, 2011 Benito rated it really liked it
great story-within-a-story that humanises the forgotten faces behind asylum-seeker statistics without resorting to sentimentality or two-dimensional characters, not an easy task.
Greta
Jan 09, 2012 Greta rated it really liked it
Reading about Tyrant's sweetens my enjoyment of freedom. As always, Keneally writes an interesting, unusual story with strong emotional impact. Near perfect.
Joy
Aug 30, 2010 Joy rated it really liked it
A thinly veiled novel of Saddam Hussein; well written. "...manages to be both bold and humble."
Mike Finn
Mar 27, 2013 Mike Finn rated it really liked it
Excellent novel about living in a Middle East tyranny.
Denise
Aug 01, 2012 Denise rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish.
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