Frankenstein in Baghdad

By Ahmed Saadawi,

Book cover of Frankenstein in Baghdad

Book description

*Man Booker International Prize finalist*

"Brave and ingenious." -The New York Times

"Gripping, darkly humorous . . . profound." -Phil Klay, bestselling author and National Book Award winner for Redeployment

"Extraordinary . . . A devastating but essential read." -Kevin Powers, bestselling author and National Book Award finalist for The…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Frankenstein in Baghdad as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I have recommended this novel as it is one of the few to come out of the Iraq war written by an Iraqi writer, telling its story from the point of view of the local Iraqis. 

Hadi, an old junk dealer, dismayed by the hasty burials of incomplete bodies after the daily bombings, puts together a body from the parts he finds. This composite body, he calls “Whatsitsname,” becomes possessed with the soul of a bombing victim and sets about killing those responsible for turning Baghdad into a slaughterhouse.

Blending its style between war fiction, horror, and fantasy, this darkly…

It only takes a few pages to know that you’re in safe hands. What sounds like a strange idea – a Frankenstein monster roaming the streets of occupied Baghdad – turns out to be both a perfect narrative device and political metaphor.

Assembled from the parts of people blown up by terrorists, soldiers and insurgents, our monster carries both the conscience and the guilt, the humanity and the violence, of a disassembled city. 

They used to say that Cairo writes, Beirut prints, and Baghdad reads. But Iraqis are now writing – and turning to fiction in order to convey the absurdity and horror of the sectarian civil war that engulfed the country following the US invasion. This book is brilliant – and won international prizes. 

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