Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel

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*Man Booker International Prize finalist*

“Brave and ingenious.” —The New York Times

“Gripping, darkly humorous . . . profound.” —Phil Klay, bestselling author and National Book Award winner for Redeployment

“Extraordinary . . . A devastating but essential read.” —Kevin Powers, bestselling author and National Book Award finalist for The Yellow Birds

From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi—a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café—collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive—first from the guilty, and then from anyone in its path. A prizewinning novel by “Baghdad’s new literary star” (The New York Times), Frankenstein in Baghdad captures with white-knuckle horror and black humor the surreal reality of contemporary Iraq.

Winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction
Winner of France’s Grand Prize for Fantasy
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About the author

Ahmed Saadawi is an Iraqi novelist, poet, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker. He is the first Iraqi to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction; he won in 2014 for Frankenstein in Baghdad, which also won France’s Grand Prize for Fantasy. In 2010 he was selected for Beirut39, as one of the 39 best Arab authors under the age of 39. He was born in 1973 in Baghdad, where he still lives.
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Published on
Jan 23, 2018
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Fiction / Horror
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / War & Military
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Eligible for Family Library

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A hypnotic novel intertwining the author’s past with James Earl Ray’s attempt to escape after shooting Martin Luther King Jr.

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1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

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陳建守(「說書 Speaking of Books」創辦人)




彷彿召喚出馬奎斯的筆魂!作者寫下了一首情歌,獻給戰火中屹立不屈的人性。 ──美國作家莉亞.卡本特(Lea Carpenter)  

一部註定被世人記住的傑作。這本書就像一隻安靜的猛獸,當心牠反咬你一口! ──《2074美國戰爭》作者 歐馬.阿卡德(Omar El Akkad)

喜愛魔幻寫實小說的讀者必讀之選!作者透過虛構的奇幻故事來描寫經歷戰火洗禮的巴格達,呈現出西方社會不曾吐露的伊拉克戰爭真貌。不但是有趣的故事,更是一部揭示人性、反映社會、講述小人物困苦與無助的優秀作品。在虛實交錯的情節下,掩卷之際我也不禁懷疑,或許伊拉克真的有過動用占卜師調查罪案的偵調局,以及曾有一個插手多起暴力事件的科學怪人存在…… ──作家 陳浩基  

瑪麗.雪萊的《科學怪人》穿越兩百年時空,來到一個歷史、宗教、文化與政治無比糾葛的城市,中東的戰亂沙漠比北極的荒寒更加凶險,暴力與殺戮也更加無情。阿荷馬德.沙達威不只寫出一樁奇案,還寫出一座偉大城市的呼吸與掙扎,寫出二十一世紀的《天方夜譚》。 ──《風傳媒》執行副總編輯 閻紀宇  

一具沒有靈魂的肉體,與失去肉身的靈魂相遇,結合成為新時代的科學怪人,這是經由仇恨的屍骸拼湊而成的夢魘異形。犯罪是為了什麼?復仇又是為了什麼?為了正義而存活的怪人「無名氏」,鏡中的臉龐扭曲而模糊,這樣的存在是否真的值得?怪客的報復使命,挑戰了人性矛盾,也隱喻政治諷刺,瘋狂奇想驚豔讀者。儘管是華文世界陌生的阿拉伯語小說,譯文流暢而精緻,引人入勝,一旦翻卷就欲罷不能。 ──妖怪小說作者 何敬堯  

小說基於主角馬荷穆德於社論中提出的巴格達主張:世上存在著三種正義:法律的正義、上天的正義、街頭的正義,而犯罪者到頭來,無論過了多長的時間,都會受到這三種正義其中一種的制裁。於是由屍塊拼成的軀體配上失去屍體的靈魂,展開街頭的正義。作者以風趣的文字,在巴格達現實的無奈中,嘲諷地建構出不存在的正義。看完書,也對烽火不斷的伊拉克有深刻的了解,「對抗邪惡的最佳方法就是和他站在同一陣線。」但美國與蓋達組織都代表某種邪惡,伊拉克人沒有自己,只有選擇。 ──作家 張國立  

伊拉克,這千年來創造阿拉伯文學輝煌之地,因戰爭中斷了一切,但在戰爭餘燼中卻也誕生了《巴格達X怪客》如此巨作,破碎後再次縫合,伊拉克作家沙達威為阿拉伯文學再注入新的生命力。2013年出版後,就引發阿拉伯世界熱潮,但美國卻到了2018年才翻譯出版,而台灣因為有黃紹綺的悉心翻譯,也是台灣第一次直接翻譯阿拉伯當代小說,讓台灣讀者無需再等英語二手翻譯,就能和美國讀者同步欣賞,是一大突破,也讓我們離阿拉伯世界更近一步。 ──SMG白宮記者兼主編、白宮記協百年來首位中文媒體記者 張經義 

我深受書中「魔幻寫實」的風格所吸引。雖然故事裡的「X怪客」以及關於偵蒐調查局的一切皆為虛構,但作者對人物的刻畫與事物的側寫卻相當真實,彷彿攝影師以廣角鏡頭拍攝,將發生在遙遠巴格達的一切拉到眼前。在這樣的大時代背景下,作者專注刻畫幾個小人物,阿拉伯人強烈而濃厚的性格躍然紙上……「無名氏」身為一個由不同死者的屍體共組而成的「科學怪人」,或許正代表著整個伊拉克社會,這個社會是受害者的集合體,它一方面想要以正義之名進行復仇,但同時卻也成了施暴者……本書能得到阿拉伯國際文學大獎,確實當之無愧。──譯者 黃紹綺  

跟著作者神遊至美軍入侵伊拉克時期的巴格達,看見每天在騷動不安中度日的市井小民。X怪客相信憑著自身的力量,他能為身上的每一個部分展開復仇,成為這社會上最正義的使者。比起現實中無奈度日的角色,X怪客有著更獨特的「使命」。這樣超現實的角色,卻「活」著最現實的生活。故事中那些爆炸、家破人亡、災難的痕跡、派別的鬥爭,在作者筆下似乎習以為常,角色刻畫帶著幾分黑色幽默,即便在戰爭的氛圍下,人們仍努力地活著:老奶奶堅守家園與愛子的固執、年輕記者的情欲渴望、不同信仰帶來的安穩慰藉……我們也許離戰爭這件事非常遙遠,但透過作者真誠的筆,我在書頁中感受到活生生的巴格達。 ──「蹲點阿拉伯」奇慈飛

敘事手法極為高明,為當代阿拉伯小說開啟了關鍵新頁。 ──國際阿拉伯文學大獎評審  

了不起的非凡傑作!作者以毫不妥協的筆力,直探戰爭的荒謬與悲劇,及其中受傷的心。這是一本令人震撼、心碎,卻不容錯過的書。 ──美國國家書卷獎決選作《黃鳥》作者 凱文.鮑爾斯(Kevin Powers)  

一翻開就放不下!這部具有黑色幽默的戰後巴格達寓言,深刻探究了暴力與復仇背後的殘酷邏輯。 ──美國國家書卷獎得主、《重新布署》(Redeployment)作者 菲爾.克雷(Phil Klay)  

作者運用卡夫卡風格的故事橋段與魔幻寫實筆法,傳達出伊拉克人超現實而宛如夢魘的日常。 ──《紐約時報》知名文學評論家 角谷美智子  作者以優雅的文字、簡潔的段落,帶我們墜入巴格達這座「鬼魅之城」—在此,逝去之人總會歸來,而正義轉瞬即逝,再怎麼良善的動機都會腐化…… ──美國《書單》雜誌星級書評

下筆有如針線在故事掛毯間穿梭,將寓言與現實無縫銜接,讀來風趣幽默,有點古怪又引人入勝。我們終於有了一本從伊拉克觀點看待這場戰爭的書。 ──美國作家 海倫.班乃迪克(Helen Benedict)

阿荷馬德.沙達威 Ahmed Saadawi

作家、詩人、小說家、記者。1973年出生於巴格達,2004年榮獲伊拉克傑出記者獎,2005-2007年擔任BBC駐巴格達連線記者。他的第二部小說《他做著夢、或遊戲著、或死去著》於2010年榮獲英國「海伊文學節」(Hay Festival)「40歲以下傑出阿拉伯作家獎」。《巴格達X怪客》是他的第三部長篇小說,不僅廣受讀者歡迎,成為阿拉伯世界最大網路書店「尼羅幼發拉底河」年度冠軍小說,更奪下2014年阿拉伯國際文學獎,評審讚譽本書「敘事手法極為高明,為當代阿拉伯小說開啟關鍵新頁」。該獎項由當年度整個阿拉伯世界的文學作品中選出一個得獎者,地位相當於英語世界的曼布克文學獎。本書將阿拉伯文學推上了國際舞台,吸引許多歐洲、好萊塢製片公司爭取電影改編權,並於2016年獲得法國幻想文學大獎肯定。阿荷馬德目前的創作重心為紀錄片拍攝與劇本寫作。



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