Antastesia's bookclub! discussion

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FEBRUARY - I'jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody by Sinan Antoon

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message 1: by Antastesia (new)

Antastesia | 55 comments Mod
Guys, i'm late!
I feel like January has gone by so quickly, I didn't even realise we are in February now!
I just filmed a recent reads in which I talk about the books we read in January, and I'll write more about it on the thread this weekend, but I thought I'd share with you the february book!
We're reading an Iraqi author this month!
it's a completely new territory for me, and I'm very excited for this book which has been praised by many.
It's not too long, so should be perfect for this month!

I'm sorry there's no other suggestions for this month,
i'll give you two in march :)
x


message 2: by Jassine (new)

Jassine (iyassine) | 6 comments This is my first reading with you guys and i'm so excited, Iraqi literature is a rich one, i have been taking classic and modern Arabic literature in high school and Iraqi writers are amazing! i don't know if i have to read it in Arabic or English. i guess it would be more convenient for me to read it in its original language.


message 3: by Antastesia (new)

Antastesia | 55 comments Mod
Yassine wrote: "This is my first reading with you guys and i'm so excited, Iraqi literature is a rich one, i have been taking classic and modern Arabic literature in high school and Iraqi writers are amazing! i do..."

Absolutely! I'd love to be able to read it in its original language!


message 4: by Jassine (new)

Jassine (iyassine) | 6 comments I have reached so far the page 55 and i'm glad that i have started reading it in Arabic, because there are parts written in the Iraqi accent, which i believe gives a nice touch as a whole, this book describes a very sensitive period of Iraq, also i do love he part where the narrator another person were discussing the evolution of poetry because this part exactly is we have studies about last year of high school.


message 5: by Ekaterina (new)

Ekaterina Pletneva | 6 comments Hi! Has anyone seen this book in an e-format? I can't find a printed version anywhere in Russia (no, Amazon doesn't ship here).


message 6: by Antastesia (new)

Antastesia | 55 comments Mod
Ekaterina wrote: "Hi! Has anyone seen this book in an e-format? I can't find a printed version anywhere in Russia (no, Amazon doesn't ship here)."

Oh... that's a shame. I just tried searching for it online and I can't seem to find it. But it's on ebay !(i'm not sure whether or not you'll be able to get it delivered in Russia though!)


message 7: by Mila (new)

Mila It's not available in my country either and it's out of stock on Book Depository. :(
Also, I see here that there are quite a few one-star reviews but they are all in arabic. Does anyone know what's the gripe against this book?


message 8: by Antastesia (new)

Antastesia | 55 comments Mod
Mila wrote: "It's not available in my country either and it's out of stock on Book Depository. :(
Also, I see here that there are quite a few one-star reviews but they are all in arabic. Does anyone know what's..."


oh that's a real shame!
i didn't know that it would be difficult to find for many of you!
I'm not sure why... Because I've been reading it for the past two days and I find it great and very interesting literary wise!


message 9: by Sara (new)

Sara Al Mutairi | 1 comments Regarding the one star ratings: I'm buying the book tomorrow so I don't know if it's good but the few one star reviews that i've read (i can read arabic) are by um how do i say this.. "Uptight" people. They're saying it's obscene and things like that because it apparently has sex scenes/talk or something. Also something about not being respectful when talking about angels? Religious stuff basically.


message 10: by Damjan (new)

Damjan (noorchestra) | 1 comments Antastesia wrote: "i didn't know that it would be difficult to find for many of you!"

It seems that the European distributor for City Lights doesn't have it in stock right now, which could be the reason for the low availability everywhere. Book Depository and Wordery only have the German translation, if that's an option for anyone, otherwise Amazon seems to be the only way to get it.

It's a shame, seems like a really interesting book.


message 11: by Jassine (new)

Jassine (iyassine) | 6 comments I'm reading it in Arabic, and yeah many conservatives are rating it 1 star because of some sexual parts that it contains. I don't find it really that disturbing, the book doesn't deserve such a rating. The style is good.


message 12: by Antastesia (new)

Antastesia | 55 comments Mod
Ahh... that makes sense! see, that's why I love this bookclub! so many different languages and so much knowledge, it makes discussing books a lot more interesting!


message 13: by Sarah (last edited Feb 13, 2017 08:38AM) (new)

Sarah | 2 comments I just finished reading this masterpiece. It was a beautiful sensual read.

The style was really artistic. Sinan Antoon plays with words by removing dots on some words or replace a letter with another to give another meaning. For example : he says (وزارة السخافة والإيهام) (The Ministry of absurdity and illusion) instead of (وزارة الثقافة والإعلام) (Ministry of culture and media) and (عقوق)(ingratitude) instead of (حقوق) (rights) etc... I believe it was his way to make reality less heavy on his mind by giving jokes.

I enjoyed the mix between Classical Arabic and the Iraqi dialect -even though there were few words I had to look for their meanings.

The main character wants to live his life away from all the political stuff and away from this forced propaganda. He tries to rebel which caused him some troubles.
I kinda feel related to the character. He mentions that everyone must prove their loyalty to the leader so he pretends but doesn't clap in speeches and doze off in his own world. It reminds me of myself in some situations.

The author mentions how we should write freely regardless of what others may say. Of course, some people-especially conservatives - may find this book repulsive (especially the joke about the angel part with his girlfriend) but it is their own opinion.

It was a short read but I enjoyed every part of it. I would definitely recommend this book and I will check out Sinan’s other works.


message 14: by Jassine (new)

Jassine (iyassine) | 6 comments Sarah's review says it all, i can't agree more about everything she said.
The book was so joyful, and it does not make you feel bored at all, the style was clever, the flashbacks and the it's all a clever piece.
I defiantly loved this book, every page of it.
Such a shame most of people rated it poorly based on a few sexual hints !


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