The Baghdad Clock

Pages: 272
Subject: Fiction, Translated Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

The Baghdad Clock

Shahad Al Rawi

Translated by Luke Leafgren
For fans of The Kite Runner comes this remarkable debut, the number one bestselling title in Iraq, Dubai and the UAE
Paperback
9781786074867 (7 Feb 2019)
RRP £8.99 / US$16.95

The Book

 

SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR ARABIC FICTION 2018

For fans of The Kite Runner comes this remarkable debut, the number one bestselling title in Iraq, Dubai and the UAE

It's 1991 and the Gulf War is raging. Two girls, hiding in an air raid shelter, tell stories to keep the fear and the darkness at bay, and a deep friendship is born. And while the city collapses around them, the sanctions bite and friends begin to flee, life goes on. People tend their gardens, go dancing and celebrate weddings, and the girls share their dreams, desires, school routines and first loves.

In her brilliant debut novel, Shahad Al Rawi takes readers beyond the familiar images in the news to show the everyday struggle of Baghdad's people, revealing the reality of growing up in a war-torn city that's slowly disappearing in front of your eyes.

Additional Information

Subject Fiction, Translated Fiction
Pages 272
Imprint Oneworld

 

About the Author

Shahad Al Rawi was born in Baghdad in 1986. She is a writer and novelist. Her first novel The Baghdad Clock went through three printings in the first months of publication. She is currently completing a PhD in Anthropology in Dubai.

Luke Leafgren received his PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University in 2012, after taking BA degrees in English and theology from Columbia University and the University of Oxford. He has translated several Arabic novels into English and teaches Arabic at the University of Harvard, where he also serves as assistant dean of Harvard College. He is an avid sailor and designed the StandStand portable standing desk.

Reviews

‘Vivid, at times surreal…the novel confronts the reality of Baghdad in the final decade of the twentieth century through the vision of a girl who often imbues it with wonder and beauty.'

- TLS

‘With tremendous talent and a sharp intelligence, Al Rawi delivers an outstanding debut. Highly recommended.'

- Library Journal (starred review)

‘Shahad Al Rawi brings us into the city of Baghdad in the middle of the Gulf War, where people continue to go about their lives despite the war that is eroding their homes. The story centres on two girls in an air raid shelter and the friendship that blossoms around the stories they tell each other in this book filled with resilience and life.'

- World Literature Today

‘This stirring debut follows two girls and their lives as they grow up in the war-torn city of Iraq. A poignant portrayal of the enduring bond of friendship, infused with a touch of magical realism.'

- Book Riot

‘Marked with a wild inventiveness and emotional depth… The Baghdad Clock is a stirring, and at times moving, portrait of two young women sticking together while everything around them falls apart…[which] provides compelling depictions of each stage of the girls' journey to adulthood.'

- The National

‘Al Rawi's debut presents the so-called enemy imbued with childhood whimsy and human longing, their quotidian stories embellished with touches of magic realism. Rendered into English by Harvard professor Leafgren, who was inspired by 9/11 to learn Arabic, this international bestseller is both condemnation against politics and war and testimony to resilient humanity.'

- Booklist

‘Extraordinary... The author does an incredible job of painting a portrait of a neighborhood in Baghdad [and] writes beautifully of characters who immediately captivate you — characters who are relatable, but also imbued with a sense of magic. The life she writes of has an ethereal overlay, as if life is about much more than just living through war. In a country so often dehumanized by politics, Al-Rawi reminds us of the stories and people that make Iraq what it is.'

- Arab News

‘Amazing...I am in awe of [Al Rawi's] ability to share profound thoughts from the point of view of such a young woman.'

- Sandra Yeaman, blog review

‘[Shahad Al Rawi] has skilfully interwoven fantasy and reality with a fine thread. She draws you through the story, leading you from one maze into another, as you stagger along in a state of perplexity, amazement and sheer delight.'

- al-Watan

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