Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: An Anthology (Middle East Literature In Translation)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The first anthology of its kind in the West, Contemporary Iraqi Fiction gathers work from sixteen Iraqi writers, all translated from Arabic into English. Shedding a bright light on the rich diversity Iraqi experience, Shakir Mustafa has included selections by Iraqi women, Iraqi Jews now living in Israel, and Christians and Muslims living both in Iraq and abroad. While each voice is distinct, they are united in writing about a homeland that has suffered under repression, censorship, war, and occupation. Many of the selections mirror these grim realities, forcing the writers to open up new narrative terrains and experiment with traditional forms. Muhammad Khodayyir's surrealist portraits of his home city, Basra, in an excerpt from Basriyyatha and the magical realism of Mayselun Hadi's "Calendars" both offer powerful expressions of the absurdity of everyday life. Themes range from childhood and family to war, political oppression, and interfaith relationships. Mustafa provides biographical sketches for the writers and an enlightening introduction, chronicling the evolution of Iraqi literature.
bounced off the bedroom window. I had forgotten what had happened to me the night before and was naturally baffled by my shocking physical absence-my bed was neat as if no one had slept in it. It was also cold, and it seemed my body had left no trace of its heat on it. I started to cry, and when I saw no actual tears or a face, it seemed that it was my soul I was crying out. I went out into the garden and into the street and could hear the clamor of cars and voices, but I couldn't see human
up in the middle of the night and ask her to massage his arms. "I'll sell all the pigeons when he dies and get rid of the droppings and the smell of leftovers. This is what's killing me slowly." She gave in to these thoughts, imagining the money she would then have. The government would also compensate her for the piece of land they had taken from them to widen the street. "One room will be enough for me," she would think. "I'll get a new bed with fresh sheets, and eat fish and meat and oranges
markets, houses, valleys, caves, and the endless whistling of bullets. A buzzing sound snapped me out of my recollections, and in the faint yellow cell light I saw a spider trapping a big fly. Flies like that feasted on rotting flesh like mine in this solitary confinement. So why did time matter? The fly was buzzing as the spider wound its sticky gray threads around the wings. I looked closely at the fly. The fine sticky threads were squeezing its body, and its eyes were bulging. It struggled in
could also invoke the sympathetic face of his wife, Wadia, as she had listened. Ibrahim said he thought the hospital turned into a war zone when the Republican Guards brought in the man. A row of armored vehicles followed by a procession of presidential automobiles. The blaring horns and the deafening sirens. The whole hospital was besieged, and soldiers with semiautomatic rifles rushed in throngs. All one could hear was "comrade Rakan Mihqan Mizban, His Excellency Rakan Mihqan Mizban, Lieutenant
married life have only intensified our initial passions. We were practically inseparable during evening hours whether we stayed at home or went out. The time that flies unnoticeable during the day we would seize and fill with pleasure at its end. These little pleasures died out bit by bit after he was drafted. We, or he, started to change over a period of several months. A few little things would happen when he was on leave. I would think about them for a while and then dismiss them. I didn't