**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.
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.