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My Father's Rifle: A Childhood in Kurdistan
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My Father's Rifle: A Childhood in Kurdistan

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A young Kurd comes of age in a war-torn land.

This beautiful, spare narrative tells of the life of a boy named Azad--in fact the author, a Kurdish filmmaker--as he grows to manhood in Iraq during the 1960s and 1970s. Azad is born into a vibrant village culture, to a family that is proud of its Kurdish past and hopes for a free Kurdish future. He loves his mother's orchard,
ebook, 112 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2004)
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This short memoir, with its simply told and clearly translated story, tells of a boyhood in Kurdistan, a nation of people divided between four countries: Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. The struggle for nationhood and freedom from oppression is told through the point of view of a boy growing into manhood. For readers who take national self-determination for granted, this account will illuminate what millions of refugees and politically disenfranchised peoples around the world experience every day ...more
A refugee from Kurdistan, now a filmmaker in Paris, recalls his childhood in northern Iraq, before and during the rise of Saddam and the Baath butchers. The narrator, like everyone else, is intent on peacable, everyday life, but becomes little by little aware that that is not so possible an undertaking, as he and his family and neighbors become little by little embroiled in larger events, and manipulated by the fascist Baath operatives. The conflict between optimism and fate is captured in bruta ...more
There’s no arguing that Hiner Saleem, a filmmaker living in Paris and writing in French, is a wonderful storyteller. In the 99 pages of his new memoir, My Father’s Rifle: A Childhood in Kurdistan, he manages to pack in Saddam Hussein, Richard Nixon, and Henry Kissinger; a troubled adolescence, girls, and cigarettes; war, art, and pomegranates. (Lots of pomegranates.) Characters deliver harangues on Kurdish history, Kurdish independence, and Kurdish worthlessness; they deliver harangues on Iraqi ...more
Ava Homa
I loved it. Subtle and deep with so many historical, social and geopolitical references. I could not put it down and found the reading experience a rewarding, insightful and delightful one. I now want to watch all of his movies.
Good but left me wanting information - that's wonderful, but book could have given more .
Short, yet detailed biography! This book is written from the perspective of a child known as Azad Shero Selim. As a reader you're immediately hit with the turmoil Azad and his family face in an endeavor of survival as Kurds living in Iraq in the 1960's and 70's.
I personally think this book was wonderful to read. There is a lot to be learnt here. There is a strong sense of knowing who you are and what you should fight for that comes through in this short biography.
Short bio-novel that gives us an insight of what reality and every day to day is for Kurds, starting from a child's perspective and with a very tender touch inside a Kurdish family.
uma história verdadeiramente emocionante contada na primeira pessoa.
This is a touching novella. Saleem tells a simple but sometimes painful story, made more emotive by the truth behind it. Normal pursuits of youth are contrasted with a fight for Kurdish independence. It is laden with imagery; fresh fruit juxtaposed with guns. The prose is beautiful and the story is engaging.
Shawn Sinclair
Dec 15, 2007 Shawn Sinclair rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone seeking a better understanding of the Kurdish people.
This is the first hand account of a young Kurdish boy growing up in Northern Iraq. The book really informed me of the love the Kurdish people took in their art, poetry, and beautiful landscape, and the trials tribulations and losses they underwent trying to keep them during the Baathist Parties Regeime.
Både ett intressant levnadsöde och en bit nutidshistoria. Oerhört läsvärd för vem som hällst som är lite nyfiken på saker utanför sundbyberg.
Heart breaking, the pain, suffering and tragedy of war and barbarism of politics and paranoia of totalitarian governments.
Amenah K.
I enjoyed the book, but I was looking for more depth.
Poetic. Slices of harsh Kurdish history.
Brave. Blunt. Beautiful.
I read it in Slovene.
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Apr 24, 2015
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Hiner Saleem (also transliterated as Hiner Salim) is an Iraqi–Kurdish film director.
His memoir, My Father's Rifle, has been translated into several languages.
Hiner Saleem was born in the town of Aqrah in Iraqi Kurdistan. He left Iraq at the age of 17, and soon made his way to Italy, where he completed school and attended university. Later on, he moved to France where he lives now.
In 1992, after
More about Hiner Saleem...

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