The Iraqi Christ

Comma Press
2
Free sample

 ** WINNER OF THE ENGLISH PEN WRITERS IN TRANSLATION AWARD **

**LONG-LISTED FOR THE 2013 FRANK O'CONNOR INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD**

**BOOK OF THE MONTH IN THE SKINNY**

A soldier with the ability to predict the future finds himself blackmailed by an insurgent into the ultimate act of terror…

A deviser of crosswords survives a car-bomb attack, only to discover he is now haunted by one of its victims…

Fleeing a robbery, a Baghdad shopkeeper falls into a deep hole, at the bottom of which sits a djinni and the corpse of a soldier from a completely different war…

From legends of the desert to horrors of the forest, Blasim’s stories blend the fantastic with the everyday, the surreal with the all-too-real. Taking his cues from Kafka, his prose shines a dazzling light into the dark absurdities of Iraq’s recent past and the torments of its countless refugees. The subject of this, his second collection, is primarily trauma and the curious strategies human beings adopt to process it (including, of course, fiction). The result is a masterclass in metaphor – a new kind of story-telling, forged in the crucible of war, and just as shocking.

'At first, you receive Blasim with the kind of shocked applause you’d award a fairly transgressive stand-up. You’re quite elated. Then you stop reading it at bedtime. At his best, Blasim produces a corrosive mixture of broken lyricism, bitter irony and hyper-realism which topples into the fantastic and the quotidian in the same reading moment.'

– M John Harrison

'Perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive...'

– The Guardian.

'Bolaño-esque in its visceral exuberance, and also Borgesian in its gnomic complexity... a master of metaphor.'

– The Guardian.

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About the author

Hassan Blasim is a poet, filmmaker and short story writer. Born in Baghdad in 1973, he studied at the city's Academy of Cinematic Arts, where two of his films Gardenia (screenplay & director) and White Clay (screenplay) won the Academy's Festival Award for Best Work in their respective years. In 1998 he left Baghdad for Sulaymaniya (Iraqi Kurdistan), where he continued to make films, including the feature-length drama Wounded Camera, under the pseudonym Ouazad Osman, fearing for his family back in Baghdad under the Hussein dictatorship. In 2004, he moved to Finland, where he has since made numerous short films and documentaries for Finnish television. 

His stories have previously been published on www.iraqstory.com and his essays on cinema have featured in Cinema Booklets (Emirates Cultural Foundation). His first short story in English appeared in Madinah, City Stories from the Middle East (Comma 2008). His first collection The Madman of Freedom Square (Comma, 2009) has been translated into five languages. This is his second book.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Comma Press
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Published on
Dec 3, 2013
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Pages
140
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction · Winner of the John Leonard First Book Prize · Selected as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post Book World, Amazon, and more 

Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.  Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

In "Redeployment", a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died."  In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened.  A Morturary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains—of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both.  A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel.  And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball.  These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming.

Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing.  Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss.  Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
The modern German classic that has shaped an entire generation.


A mother and her two teenage children sit at the dinner table. In the middle stands a large pot of cooked mussels. Why has the father not returned home? As the evening wears on, we glimpse the issues that are tearing this family apart.


‘I wrote this book in August 1989, just before the Fall of the Berlin Wall. I wanted to understand how revolutions start. It seemed logical to use the figure of a tyrannical father and turn the story into a German family saga.’ Birgit Vanderbeke


Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘I love this monologue. It's the first Peirene book which made me laugh out loud with tears in my eyes. The author lays bare the contradictory logic of an inflexible mind. This is a poignant yet hilarious narrative with a brilliant ending.’ Meike Ziervogel


‘We are playing catch-up here with something of a contemporary European classic.’ David Mills, Sunday Times


‘The novella brilliantly renders both the power of the revolutionary moment and the uncertainty of the future it unleashes.’ Jane Yager, Times Literary Supplement


‘This is one of those books that doesn't tell us what to think, but sets us off thinking . . . Who writes this kind of nuanced work in Britain?’ Nicholas Lezard, Guardian


‘Sinister, funny and heartening, this taut novella reflects, within the microcosm of the family, the dissolution of the East German state, with an insight, economy and controlled fury that have made it a modern German classic.’ Chris Schuler, Independent


‘There is a political edge to Vanderbeke's provocative examination of patriarchal violence, and part of the power of this darkly comic tale is how well it succeeds as an allegory for political tyranny.’ Lucy Popescu, Independent on Sunday


‘Astute, darkly funny, provocative, often uncomfortable in its devastating depiction of patriarchal oppression but ultimately uplifting.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post


‘An extraordinary book, the story unspooled with masterful restraint, and written with simplicity and precision.’ Francesca Segal, Standpoint


SHORTLISTED FOR THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2014

WINNER OF THE SCHLEGEL-TIECK PRIZE FOR GERMAN TRANSLATION 2014

FOYLES BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2013

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