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The Baghdad Eucharist

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  4,552 ratings  ·  1,000 reviews
Displaced by the sectarian violence in the city, Maha and her husband are taken in by a distant cousin, Youssef.
As the growing turmoil around them seeps into their household, a rare argument breaks out between the elderly Youssef and his young guest. Born into sanctions and war, Maha knows nothing of Iraq's good years that Youssef holds dear.
Set over a single day, The Ba
Paperback, 152 pages
Published April 1st 2017 by Hoopoe Fiction (first published 2012)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sinan-antoon
She too would begin to revisit the past once it had grown a little, and she would dwell on it for hours—even were it to consist of nothing but misery. Her wounds would heal and she would retain only what was best. In any case, for me to stop living in the past, it would have to be dead. And it clearly wasn’t—the past was alive and well, in one form or another, and it not only coexisted with the present, but continued to wrangle with it. [...] Was I really escaping the present and seeking refuge ...more
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Time, memories, and growing old. The central conflict here is between the aging Uncle and his beloved niece. She accuses him, to his dismay, of living in the past. In his mind he questions himself with, where else would an old man live? He grew up in a much different time and, as a result, sees the world they live in as eventually getting better - like it used to be. He’d like to think that there were times of living in harmony, Chaldeans, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Muslims. His niece, coming up in ...more
Fatima Mayahi
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tears on tears,no more to say.
One of the best books I've read this year along with The Man From Bashmour. Elderly Youssef and his niece Maha who are Chaldean Christians native to Iraq both tell their stories which is also the story of modern day Iraq. A very moving and tragic story, beautiful in its' ultimate sorrow. ...more
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written novel showing the beauty of Baghdad society in 60s and 70s and then it also shows the collapse of the society during the time of Saddam Hussein and following his falling. The book portrait the lives of Christians in particular in the periods mentioned above but and how they interacted with Muslims. I enjoyed the book very much and anyone who would like knowing more about life in the last 50 years in Baghdad will really enjoy it. The characters very well portrayed an ...more
Rihab Sebaaly
This book gave me some new information about Iraq. I've read it twice in these 5 days, thinking that maybe in the first time I wasn't in the mood of this kind of books. well in the second time, I've enjoyed it more but It was a slow book with too many details. :( ...more
Dima Asaad
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
A genuine narrative of Iraq's miserable present that I grew up to and a hope in the past that remains in the past

Allison Sees
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, melancholy tale.
Intricately woven, the ending a sad, stark reality.
Worth reading
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting perspective on this modern-day story in that it portrays a Christian family in Baghdad -- an elderly Uncle, Youssef who is "living in the past" and his 20-something niece Maha and her husband who has only known war and turmoil. The present-day action takes place in one day, but there is a long sequence of memory from Youssef who remembers a peaceful and prosperous Iraq in its best years, despite the toll on his extended family, most of whom have fled the current conditions for l ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up at the library as it caught my attention. Slow start but offered a fascinating look into family dynamics and the tragic history of Iraq. As religious conflict, war, economic stagnation, and political instability plague Iraq, a young Christian women seeking to become a doctor struggles to see a future for herself. The cousin who takes her and her husband in, struggles to make sense of the world as well. Their differing perspectives offer an interesting look at family, and generatio ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me quite a bit until I got into the book. The beginning missed a bit of spunk. Perhaps because Youssef, the elderly uncle, was a very down-to-earth type of man. The extensive family stories didn't add anything for me either.
Nothing seemed to be able to get Youssef out of balance.Not even his niece Maha, who moved into his quite and empty house with her husband after she and her husband had been victims of sectarian violence in their own neighbourhood multiple times. The last event cause
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A single flashback-laden day starts with a family fight and ends in senseless tragedy.

The ending is somewhat abrupt, but in a way that resonates with the shock, and loss, and pointlessness of endless cycles of violence.
Enaam Hamed
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it too much. l missed Baghdad that everybody is escaping.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am biased
what can I say !!!!
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a Chaldean-Assyrian, this book profoundly resonated with me. It's an impossible feeling to describe when you read what could easily be your family, dealing with the aftermath of war and suppression, and yet still living in fear of violence, still trapped by occupation. However, as an American born citizen, it was all the more moving (and important) that this is written by an Iraqi (of course, this novel has been translated from Arabic). Sinan Antoon does not place his protagonist in any cooki ...more
Bruce Wallace
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Find it on Kindle as ″The Baghdad Eucharist″. " probes deeply into the nature of loss and its impact on collective memory. Intertwining two distinct threads, he teases the reader to reach a conclusion about a community on the edge. Generations in the madness of Baghdad, seen through Baghdadi eyes. ...more
Benjamin Smith
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short and written deceptively simply, it makes me think more about the relationship between the past and future and critical junctures in my life. It also paints a good portrait of the contradiction of individual suffering vs empathy from people around us, and the characters become more interesting and symbolic the longer the novel goes on.
Katie Johnson
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Intense portrait of an Iraqi Christian family, taking place in one day and through memory. Brutal in its honesty and heartbreaking, and an equally good portrait of Iraq over the last few decades.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is an essential reminder for readers that a). not all Iraqis are Muslim, and b). the difficult choices that people oftentimes have to make during times of violence and upheaval. This book is especially pertinent nowadays, with all of the travel bans and heated discussions on immigration and the perceived safety of homes. I think that a lot of people have preconceived notions of Iraq and Iraqis, which obviously don't cover the rich history and current complexities of life there. The Bag ...more
Rand Firas
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Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
thats my first time reading this kind of genre
interesting how people think about their homeland
some cliches about islam should be changed in christian's thinkings toward muslim people
emotional event of maha lose of her baby
Laila Taji
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent story by Sinan Antoon! I will admit I struggled while reading the book, especially the beginning. So as not to spoil anything, I will simply say that by the end, the whole story comes together and it makes sense why the book was written the way it was written. And after spending some time thinking about the characters and realizing how they formulated their beliefs over time based on the politics of the time and their experiences, I came to love the characters and their stories ...more
Dec 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The language is not very accessible, the print is full of typos, the story weak, the characters superficial.. need I say more? I honestly don't know how it was longlisted for the IPAF. It deals with an important issue, in terms of what's currently going on in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and many other Arab countries, but it could have been dealt with in a better way. I'm disappointed actually. ...more
Noor Zandi
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*Factional ppl shouldn't read it ...more
Mahmoud Sabah
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect and painful, as usual
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ugly truth! Worth reading.
Rhonda Sloan
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This book spends its pages looking at one day of an Iraqi Christian family with flashbacks woven in the narrative. Often a bit slow but always challenging as we see into a world we do not know... a world filled with violence and war, family and faith, love and hate, each told through vignettes that though small pictures piece together to a deeper understanding of this world so far apart from my own life.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This short novel tells the story of a family of Christians in contemporary Iraq. Some of the family members are planning to leave, and they come in to conflict with their relatives who plan to stay. It is an interesting topic, but I thought the novel was too short, and didn't really develop the characters or the setting very well. The characters all seemed to refer to things from the past that were never explained. ...more
Cathy Williamson
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
I did enjoy this, and found it was beautifully written. As a white Englishwoman I found it extremely interesting to read about the struggles from other perspectives, and also to see how opinions within a family can also differ. The only disappointment for me was that the book was so short, I would've loved to have read more about the family's background and past experiences. ...more
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سنان أنطون
شاعر وروائي وأكاديمي ولد في بغداد عام ١٩٦٧. حصل على بكالوريوس في الأدب الإنكليزي من جامعة بغداد. هاجر بعد حرب الخليج ١٩٩١ إلى الولايات المتحدة حيث أكمل دراساته وحصل على الماجستير من جامعة جورجتاون عام ١٩٩٥ والدكتوراه في الأدب العربي من جامعة هارڤارد بامتياز عام ٢٠٠٦.
نشر روايته الأولى"إعجام" عام ٢٠٠٣ وتُرجمت إلى الإنكليزية والنرويجية والبرتغالية والألمانية والإيطالية . نشر روايته الثانية

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