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Baghdad Fixer [Paperback]

Ilene Prusher
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 7.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

15 Nov 2012

Nabil al-Amari is an English teacher in Baghdad, in Saddam's Iraq, when a chance encounter with Samara Katchens, an American journalist covering the war, changes his life forever. It is April 2003 and American and British forces have recently invaded Iraq.

Samara, or Sam for short, is ambitious, cynical and determined. Nabil is both fascinated and bewildered by her, and he's keen to show her things she doesn't notice in her rush to cover the news. She is pushed by her editor to seek concrete proof for a story concerning payments for false documents - a practice which breaks all journalistic codes of ethics - "as if truth were so hard in that way, like rocks and concrete". In Iraq it is rarely so.

As Sam single-mindedly pursues this story, she discovers a chasm between her editor's expectations and the reality she faces in a city torn apart by war and conflicting loyalties. And in her determination to uncover the truth, she takes one gamble too many, endangering herself, Nabil and his family.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Halban Publishers (15 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190555947X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905559473
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 13.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 529,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ilene Prusher is a multi-genre writer, working as a print journalist for American and British media for nearly 20 years, but also publishing creative nonfiction and haiku poetry. Baghdad Fixer, published in the UK in November 2012 by Halban Publishers, is her first novel.

Prusher was a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor from 2000 to 2010, serving as the Boston-based newspaper's bureau chief in Tokyo, Istanbul, and Jerusalem and covering the major conflicts of the past decade: Iraq and Afghanistan. She now work as an independent journalist in Jerusalem. She also teaches Reporting Conflict for NYU-Tel Aviv, runs creative writing workshops, and writes Primigravida, a popular blog about motherhood.

Product Description


A fascinating story which gives the texture of life in Iraq as it was lived by foreign journalists and Iraqis at the time of the invasion. It conveys a fresher sense of those years than a thousand news reports. -- Patrick Cockburn, Iraq correspondent, The Independent

A fast-paced, evocative thriller that opens our eyes to the excitements and dangers of Iraq after the fall of Saddam. This gripping, beautifully-observed tale, written with a ring of true authenticity, captures the challenges of a journalist and her loyal fixer navigating their way through an Iraq rarely seen by outsiders. -- Rory McCarthy, author of 'Nobody Told Us We Are Defeated: Stories from the New Iraq'

Ilene Prusher's novel is a compelling account of the first few weeks following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime told through the eyes of a fascinating and gracefully drawn Iraqi everyman... Ms Prusher draws us into his story as he is sometimes unwittingly lured deeper and deeper into the world of war journalism, watching with horror as his country descends into chaos. -- Borzou Daragahi, Middle East and North African correspondent, Financial Times

A journalist's fixer is a go-between in so many senses: linguistic, cultural. The fixer straddles borders and boundaries, helping each try to communicate with the Other. Ilene Prusher conjures this so beautifully in her stunning, thrilling debut, as Nabil, an Iraqi English teacher with a poetic soul, is drawn into the unfamiliar, learning as much about his own country and people as about the world in which Samara, the American journalist who has hired him, moves so easily. A unique novel, Baghdad Fixer's compelling plot is combined with poignant and difficult insights into the life and tragedies of ordinary Iraqis during the war. This is not just a wonderful read, it is an important book for helping us, too, to begin to understand the Other. -- Tania Hershman, author of 'My Mother Was An Upright Piano' and 'The White Road and Other Stories'

Book Description

A journalist and her fixer struggle for the truth where truth is now a victim.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another side of war 4 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author has achieved a beautifully sensitive and evocative insight into a war-torn country through the eyes of its narrator, a quiet, intelligent Iraqi fixer, Nabil. His "boss" is an American journalist, Sam, whose western background, culture and personality clearly contrast with his own. Nabil's slow, steady paced observations of their tense and dangerous work together are both intimate and thoughtful, leading the reader to an awareness of not only the conflicting loyalties of the Iraqi people but also of their gradual mutual understanding of two very different cultures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A door to another culture 25 April 2013
BAGHDAD FIXER brought me to a door of a culture foreign to me, and opened the door. Ilene Prusher crafted a skillful narrator to tell this particular story. Nabil had the sensitivity to wonder about just about everything that I'd want to know about as a reader, nuances between Shia and Sunni Islam, between Kurds and Iraqi Arabs, between pre-2003 Iraq and the Iraq during the early phases of the US occupation.

Nabil also wonders about Samara "Sam" Katchens, the exotic, fiery-haired American journalist who hires him due to his mastery of the English language. I found myself squirming each time Sam made a cultural gaff, or even a minor mis-perception, mistakes that might endanger her or insult someone from whom she wanted information or a favor. As the narrative developed, I grew fond of both main characters, and I saw them as excellent foils for each other. The fondness that I felt for Nabil and Sam helped me feel more strongly the tension on the ground, a mix of arrogant and negligent US forces, threats to foreign journalists as they reach into lawless areas, and the constant negotiating to achieve good information, at the least, and truth, at best.

Nabil's thoughts about the looting of the national museums, those with some of the most ancient and precious artifacts in the world, touched a nerve in me. I remember listening to news reports about those thefts when I was in Oakland, California, and suspected the US forces for complicity in the acts at the very least. I mention this as an instance among many where Prusher skillfully wove raw material from the actual struggles that Iraqis were facing at the time, and the skills needed for journalists to navigate the dangers.

I look forward to this debut novelist's next works.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and keenly observed 14 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A beautifully written novel giving fresh insight into life in Iraq during the war. Balanced viewpoints, excellent observation and a great storyline without being sensational.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average read 8 Jan 2014
By rdf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Found the book interesting in parts but some of the story was made on the assumption that the fixer did not think of the consequences of his actions, thus improbable in a place like Iraq. Shame really.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Background to Tony and Dubyas War 23 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm not a newspaper reader, instead I get my world news from BBC TV. So a book explaining something of the background to events in Iraq at the time of the Anglo-American invasion I found compelling. All the characters are well drawn, the enmity between races a striking problem, the implacable power of the crime masters all masterly. It became a very exciting read at the end. Now I understand more but there's little or nothing we can do to help
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