I'jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody

I'jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody

I'jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody

An inventory of the General Security headquarters in central Baghdad reveals an obscure manuscript. Written by a young man in detention, the prose moves from prison life, to adolescent memories, to frightening hallucinations, and what emerges is a portrait of life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

In the tradition of Kafka’s The Trial or Orwell’s 1984, I’jaam offers insight into life under an oppressive political regime and how that oppression works. This is a stunning debut by a major young Iraqi writer-in-exile.

Sinan Antoon has been published in leading international journals and has co-directed About Baghdad, an acclaimed documentary about Iraq under US occupation.

From Booklist
I'jaam denotes the practice of adding dots to letters of the Arabic alphabet to alter phonetic value. If dots are omitted, words can become ambiguous or inappropriate for their contexts. The young man who wrote the found manuscript whose transcription is this chilling short novel omitted dots, and so a song about the "great Leader" concludes with a phrase that translates one letter differently from "tucks us into bed." In his own eyes, the author has a right to be wry. He wanted an education, but the exigencies...

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