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Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: An Anthology
'Contemporary Iraqi Fiction' gathers work from 16 Iraqi writers. Shedding a light on the diversity of Iraqi experience, the anthology includes selections by Iraqi women, Jews, Christians and Muslims, both those living in Iraq and abroad. The stories are united in writing about a homeland that has known suffering.
Hardcover, 202 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Syracuse University Press
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I really liked this book very much and I would recommend it to anyone, even if they're not interested in Iraqi fiction in particular. The introductions to each author and their stories are great because you get to know a little bit about them and how, though their common home is Iraq, their various experiences and histories have influenced how they remember and represent Iraq in their own stories. I also really appreciate how Shakir has selected excerpts from a varied range of authors- he has in ...more
One has to approach a literary tradition so dramatically different--and older--as the Arabic one judiciously. We tend to view Arab culture (when we look at it at all) through the prism of the West's preconceptions--which is to say, homogeneous and ossified, if not hostile. Shakir Mustafa's anthology eloquently rebuts those presumptions. It is diverse, representing Iraqis both at home and in exile, and including a fair number of women, and Jewish and Kurdish writers. The themes range from fantasy ...more
Some really lovely stuff here. None of the stories are long, many of them are heartbreakingly good. There's a very short one, "Morning Exercises" by Mahdi Isa al-Saqr, which I can't get out of my head. About a couple, their young son, and the moments immediately surrounding a bombing in their city. It's simple, and not gruesome, which somehow makes it more haunting.
I never realized that Persian/Iraqi fiction was so "magical-realistic". If you like short stories, love "magical-realism" (note: some experts say there is no such thing), and want to learn more about the modern Iraqi struggle through magnificent prose-- PLEASE READ!