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

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  198 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
This beautiful, spare, autobiographical narrative tells of the life of a Kurd named Azad as he grows to manhood in Iraq during the 1960s and 1970s. Azad is born into a vibrant village culture that hopes for a free Kurdish future. He loves his mother's orchard, his cousin's stunt pigeons, his father's old Czech rifle, his brother who is fighting in the mountains. But before ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by Picador (first published February 27th 2004)
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Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This novelette tells the story of Azad, A Kurdish boy living in Iraqi occupied Kurdistan, as the lands of the Kurds are seized and their culture destroyed.
In 1968, eight year old Azad lives in a small village in Iraqi occupied Kurdistan.
He climbs onto rooftops and watches his cousin's homing pigeons eating the juicy pomegranates in his mother's garden.
He swims naked with his friends and brothers in the streams near the village and enjoys the occasional treat of biscuits from the village store. H
Jun 16, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Jul 22, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Ava Homa
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but left me wanting information - that's wonderful, but book could have given more .
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-booklist

"That day, we lost seven men in our family. I was still a kid."

"My mother's face had lost it's smile. But I was still a kid."

"But as we waited for freedom, a lot of time went by."

"I saw the alarm on my mother's face, but I didn't attach too much importance to it. I was still a kid."

"War or no war, life continued."

"It's more honorable to die on our own land than to become American immigrants or militiamen working for the shah."

"The more times goes by, the more my heart beats slowly. I wa
Derek O'Hara
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
In a riveting true story about a young boy and his struggle of getting through life in Iraq. Azad Shero Selim is a young boy who has to deal with the rough and dangerous life of Iraq, when a group of men invade his neighborhood killing and hurting the people he loves the most. “Right before my eyes, she was hit with the butt of a rifle” this is when his family is first attacked he sees as his mother is hit and eventually killed. The story then cuts to a flashback of life before the men invaded. ...more
Bernarda Karničnik
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was just sad.... I didn't know if I'd be able to continue at the part where he tells what happened to his cousin (the one they tied to a jeep). Because it was so sad and I just had that "what if it happened to someone close to me" in my head. But I did continue. And the thing that shook me up most was that page in the end that tells us what happened to other characters... I cannot believe what human beings are able to do, how very impatient we can be to those that have different cultures.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Shawn Sinclair
Dec 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: català, biblioteca
He de dir que sabia molt poc sobre el poble kurd i la seua situació abans d'agafar este llibre. Per tant, no sabia si l'entendria de la mateixa manera.
L'he entés. Ha sigut una lectura molt crua i real. La forma en què l'autor explica la repressió d'un poble i la guerra des de la perspectiva d'una persona tan jove m'ha semblat fascinant. És una lectura dura però recomanable.
Seems to have been published more as a 'Saddam Hussein sucks and the Iraq invasion is sweet' kind of piece, given its timely publication date of 2004. The description of the author's childhood in Iraqi Kurdistan, and flight out as a teen, is interesting if not compelling.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read it in Slovene.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Poetic. Slices of harsh Kurdish history.
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very informative of the Kurdish struggle for independence told from the point of view of a young boy.

Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
uma história verdadeiramente emocionante contada na primeira pessoa.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Heart breaking, the pain, suffering and tragedy of war and barbarism of politics and paranoia of totalitarian governments.
فداك ياكوردستان
Great job
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scanned
Brave. Blunt. Beautiful.
Julieth Alejandra
Una historia con potencial, pero que se quedó corta en cuanto a descripción.
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Både ett intressant levnadsöde och en bit nutidshistoria. Oerhört läsvärd för vem som hällst som är lite nyfiken på saker utanför sundbyberg.
Margi Arbina
rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2015
rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2012
Maria A
rated it it was ok
Aug 12, 2013
Carrie B
rated it it was amazing
Feb 18, 2010
rated it really liked it
Oct 21, 2012
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Jun 25, 2013
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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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