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The Baghdad Clock

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  2,026 ratings  ·  362 reviews
Baghdad, 1991. In the midst of the first Gulf War, a young Iraqi girl huddles with her neighbours in an air raid shelter. There, she meets Nadia. The two girls quickly become best friends and together they imagine a world not torn apart by civil war, sharing their dreams, their hopes and their desires, and their first loves. But as they grow older and the bombs continue to ...more
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Oneworld Publications (first published October 10th 2016)
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NAZOoki yup, it's translated from Arabic to English. highly recommended though.…moreyup, it's translated from Arabic to English. highly recommended though.(less)

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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  2,026 ratings  ·  362 reviews

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Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a heartbreaking, beautifully expressed, vibrant and poetic coming of age novel depicting the tragedies and horrors of war, including civil war, visited on the city of Baghdad in Iraq. It is observed through the eyes of a child, a young Iraqi girl, growing up in a small neighbourhood, giving us a glimpse into the everyday lives and culture of the city at the beginning of the First Gulf War in 1991. She finds herself in air raid shelters, finding a good and close friend in Nadia, sharing t ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader by: Paromjit
4 resilient stars to The Baghdad Clock! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

This book landed on my radar when my friend, Paromjit, gave it five stars. I had to read it, and it did not disappoint!

It is Baghdad in 1991. Two Iraqi girls become the best of friends while in an air raid shelter. Their hearts are pure and their imaginations dream of a time when war was a distant memory; however, years later, the war is still present in their country.

With a bird’s-eye-view of war from the ground, from the mouths and hearts of
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Astonishing writing. Shahad Al Rawi reveals life in the neighborhood during and in between wars. At times it reads like a complex fairy tale. Other times it reads like a diary penned by a sensitive, imaginative adolescent. Horrifying yet hopeful. Stark reality and dreamlike sequences. Please read this book and fall beneath this writer’s magic spell. This book far exceeded my expectations.
Maysam Aloush
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Thought provoking, well written, definitely needs another read and discussions! you are talented writer
Thank youuuuuuuuu
Jane Rhea
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, giveaways
I really enjoyed this book. At first I was hesitant because I've been reading a lot of books about war this year, but Al Rawi isn't really writing about war or even about being a refugee. This book has it's own kind of magical realism and philosophy that I found captivating and inspiring. I'm looking forward to reading it again! ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very well written novel and one that kept me turning the pages until finished. This is a novel that i hope to read again in the near future. Highly recommended.

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers.
Stephanie Jane
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-asia
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

The Baghdad Clock is a beautifully magical novel of a girl coming of age in a war-torn city. Through the eyes of our never-named narrator, we see the effects of bombings, a decade of sanctions, and more bombings on a thriving Baghdad neighbourhood as its community slowly splinters and evaporates. I was strongly reminded of South American magical realism at several points so was happy to spot the classic novel One Hundred Years Of Solitude bei
Unlike anything I have read, there is a lyricism and poetic flow to this tale, narrated by a young Iraqi girl as she remembers her life before and the struggles and changes during the first Iraqi war in 1991. Solidly presented within her neighborhood – we see how lovely and wonderful life was before the bombings started, even with sanctions, there was a sense of community and surety that felt universal – the girls had dreams and stutter moments when encountering boys they liked, danced at weddin ...more

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Why this book works so well is that it’s such a simple and innocent story. Seen through the eyes of two girls as they grow up and start to explore the world, well at least as far as they can in war torn Baghdad, they manage to reveal their dreams, their hopes and their fears as well as acute observations of war. What we read about war sometimes can be gathered in such torrid graphic headlines that it’s there to shock. The lyrical, innocent childhood observations
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Nadia and I were born during the war with Iran. We got to know each other during Desert Storm. We grew up in the years of the sanctions and the second Gulf War. George Bush and his son, George W. Bush, took turns firing missiles and illegal weapons at our childhood, while Bill Clinton and that old woman Madeleine Albright were satisfied with starving us. And when we grew up, hell sat in wait for us.

“I will trick you with my words and dodge my memories. I will sing and cry; I will dream with Na
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this much . The story line, characters, and plot are not my usual reading. That just made it more special. The ending was perfect. Like a beautiful sunset at the end of a perfect day.
Thank you Shahad Al Rawi ..
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi

Set in war torn Baghdad, 1991 during the Gulf war. A powerful story told in first person perspective, of one girls life during this war torn time. She meets another young girl (Nadia) and become friends. As time goes by, friends and family leave the war torn country, and lives will be forever changed.

Shahad Al Rawi detailed every emotion pulling me deep into the story as if I were there. A thought provoking, intense read that left an impression on my heart. Alt
Reading Fool
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways, 2018
I received an Advance Reader's Copy of this book.

This is a remarkable debut novel about two Iraqi girls who grow up during the first and second Iraqi wars with America. In 1991, Nadia and the storyteller (her name is never revealed as she tells the story) meet in a Baghdad air raid shelter. They are young girls who quickly become best friends. Life under sanctions is difficult and slowly their neighbors and friends emigrate to other countries to escape. This story captures two teenagers' lives a
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Books like this are why it’s so important to have English translations of Arabic literature. Too many people don’t see the humanity in “others”, and this beautifully written book illuminates our commonality, and through this readers can understand better the devastating effects of war and sanctions on people living in places many cannot even find on a map.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can you imagine what it would be like if war broke out in your country? Imagine how your life would change. Think about what it would be like to watch neighbors disappear, buildings go up in smoke and armed soldiers start patrolling your streets. Sounds like a nightmare, right? However, this is a reality for many people around the world. In this story, we get to see the impact of war on the lives of residents of a small neighborhood in Baghdad.

I don’t think that I got to find out the name of the
Lisa Jensen
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a storyline. Thinking of characters the entire day after finishing on the train this morning. Shahad Al Rawi will have my attention for a long time to come. As well will this incredible, fantastic, sad, deep, narrative of its main plotline. I will recommend this book to my friends and family and strangers and future robots.
The Baghdad Clock, Shahad Al Rawi
I enjoyed reading this book. I kept wanting to pick it up again, each time I put it down which is a sign to me that the book is calling my name, but, if truth be told, I had to reread many a sentence over and over, and even then, I am not sure I got the full meaning of the author’s intent. Whether it was due to the editing or the translation, I do not know. Imagination and magical realism often ran through the pages creating a fantasy which was sometimes difficu
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shahad Al Rawi's debut novel, The Baghdad Clock, isn't metaphorically titled: there really is a large landmark clock in Baghdad with four faces. It perches on top of a tall stem, visible from all directions, like a kind of Martian Big Ben. In the novel, it serves as a place for the unnamed narrator and her best friend Nadia to meet up with the boys they love. It also serves as the title of the book the two girls decide to write: a history or memorial of their neighbourhood, which is increasingly ...more
Joanne Rixon
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE BAGHDAD CLOCK is a tender, romantic, complex story about a neighborhood, about growing up a girl in a time of war, about the delicate bonds of love and friendship that connect people who must scatter to the winds to try to escape a violence that comes from the sky.

It's also a story about dreams and memory, about time and its fragmentation, about hiding in a bomb shelter and planning to hide in a bomb shelter and scouting out a bomb shelter only to stumble across the seer who tells you your
Slightly surreal, nostalgic portrayal of a neighbourhood in Baghdad, of a childhood and early youth lived under the shadow of war, shared by a girl of that neighbourhood who refuses to depict her childhood through the lens of suffering and devastation and thus shares their humanity, their connections, their relations and when she comes close to anything that might be traumatic, lifts off into dreams and the imagination, into other realms, soothed by the souls of the departed, the wisdom of her i ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved every part of this book! it kept me second guessing what was going to happen. definitely gave me a few muddied in some parts! highly recommend!
Maysam Aloush
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Thought provoking, well written, definitely needs another read and discussions! you are talented writer.thank you
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"To be honest, it is not that people forgot her, but rather they got used to forgetting her absence. It was not that they forgot her as a person. There are people in the neighborhood—indeed, in every place around the world—about whom forgetting means that we remember their absence, and this absence takes the place of their presence in our lives."

The Baghdad Clock
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
This is a beautifully written book describing the disintegration of a neighbourhood due to war. Told from a first-person perspective, the unnamed narrator grows up in a middle-class neighbourhood. Her best friend is Nadia, a girl her age.

What makes this book beautiful is the prose. Take:

Everything our eyes touch is just an idea. There's nothing real about reality. We are prisoners of our imaginations, and our experiences in the world of reality consist only of ideas. All of existence is an assem
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: librarything
Oh, where to even begin with The Baghdad Clock. This is one of those books that comes across your path and is instantly a gift.

The Baghdad Clock has a voice that is part innocent and part poetic. It is heartbreaking but is also a display of strength and courage from a voice that is new to me, one I rarely find represented. I instantly fell in love with this voice and the story of two Iraqi girls who first formed their friendship during the 1991 Gulf War. Even through sanctions, new threats of w
Joanne Lewis
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've seen comparisons made with this novel to Khaled Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner' and having read it, it's easy to see why. The writing style is very similar; evocative, informative and incredibly poignant.

The story primarily tells the tale of two young Iraqi girls who find themselves caught up in the turmoil of the Gulf war and shows the conflict through their eyes: how their lives are changed and how it impacts on their loved ones around them.

The beauty of telling a tale through the eyes of a
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this much . The story line, characters, and plot are not my usual reading. That just made it more special. The ending was perfect. Like a beautiful sunset at the end of a perfect day.
Thank Shahad Al Rawi ..
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I literally just finished this book and it's hard to see through the tears in my eyes. What a magnificent story. Shahad Al Rawi has created a masterpiece with this book. My heart broke a ten times during my journey through the pages. Just have tissues on hand. ...more
Dora Okeyo
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved the plot of this book, but the greatest struggle seems to have been for the narrator to find the voice that would clearly bring out the story. It felt as though the narrator oscillated between a naive child and an adult, mixing up tenses and getting the reader into a fairy-like trance and this made reading this book quite difficult.
There are however very strong characters who represent the story, and to be honest had the narrator simply told me about Uncle Shawkat and his dog, then I'd h
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lovely poetic book that made me think about the same old stuff - past, present, future, time, friendship, love - in a different way. Also, renewing my regret for the crimes my country has committed in Iraq and other places similar.
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