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The Iraqi Christ Paperback – 31 Mar 2013

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Comma Press (31 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905583524
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905583522
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 379,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive...' 'Bolaño-esque in its visceral exuberance, and also Borgesian in its gnomic complexity... a master of metaphor.' --The Guardian

'Blasim's vivid prose reflects the way the fantastic and the ordinary collapse into a Kafkaesque jumble during urban conflict.' --The Financial Times

'An arrestingly vivid picture of the privation and the terrors of life in Iraq.' --Herald Scotland

'Blasim's vivid prose reflects the way the fantastic and the ordinary collapse into a Kafkaesque jumble during urban conflict.' --The Financial Times

'An arrestingly vivid picture of the privation and the terrors of life in Iraq.' --Herald Scotland

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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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
'The Iraqi Christ' is the second collection of Hassan Blasim's stories to be published in English. As with its predecessor, 'The Madman of Freedom Square', most of the fourteen stories here originally appeared in Arabic on the web. The translator once again is Jonathan Wright.

Blasim has been widely recognised as a powerful and original voice in Arabic fiction, and this book is only likely to enhance his reputation. Blasim's style is best characterised as 'Arabic gothic' - although that is to ignore the fact that since writing from the East was itself a huge influence on the 'oriental tales' of European writers from the eighteenth century on, the priority is really in Blasim's favour: he is reappropriating a native tradition. The cover carries a rare admiring acknowledgement from M. John Harrison. This isn't out of place, since both writers share the habit of making the fantastic emerge out of the banal. Comparisons have also been made with Kafka, and Blasim has acknowledged the influence: but he is far from being a mere imitator.

One difference lies in the already extraordinary nature of the Iraqi reality that Blasim transforms here; another is his fearlessness in responding to that reality by juxtaposing what are normally thought of as different modes of writing. Some of these stories veer vertiginously - in the space of ten pages - between straight reportage, supernatural fantasy and paranoid speculation with near-total abandon: this gives them a surrealist edge.

The background - Iraq and its neighbours during the last thirty years - is already one in which murder, torture, betrayal, loss of family and exile are commonplace.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nice contemporary, intriguing stories which are provocative and intriguing. Read review in Edinburgh paper The SKinny and bought it immediately! I wasn't disappointed! By the way, a beautifully made book! Very tactile textured pages and cover, felt lovely to hold!
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By DubaiReader VINE VOICE on 9 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a series of thirteen short stories mostly based in Iraq, though a few are based in Finland, where the author now lives. After an initial reading I was left with a sense of horror and shock at the level of violence portrayed. Fortunately, this was a book group read and it certainly helped to be able to discuss the narratives with others, which gave some context to the metaphors that I had missed or misunderstood.

It's an interesting mix of stories, some have an element of magical realism, others are obviously born of a violent background. There is some generosity shown to characters, but for me it was not enough to lift the overall gloom that I was left me with.

I was hoping to find some recognisable theme linking them all, but apart from the "trauma and the curious strategies human beings adopt to process it", as advertised in the bumf, there were no obvious links other than one pair of stories centred around a compass. I did like that the author popped up in the narrative a few times, however, an interesting twist.

The ratings given by other readers were quite varied, but on the whole it was the readers from Arabic backgrounds who gave the highest ratings and those of us from the west were significantly less generous.

An interesting read but not an author I'll be in a hurry to read again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did not find this particularly enjoyable. The short stories seemed rather slight and inconsequential. I probably failed to spot the deeper meanings or literary allusions but I am sorry to say this did not come up to the expectations fostered by the enthusiastic reviews that I read.
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