From the list on fiction on the real challenges our world now faces.
Who am I?
I’m a nonfiction author whose success owes enormously to fiction. It challenges me to portray real people as vividly as characters in novels, and to use narrative and dialogue to keep readers turning the pages. Reading great novelists has taught me to obsessively seek exactly the right words, to fine-tune the cadence of each sentence, and to heed overall structural rhythm; continually, I return to the fount of fiction for language and inspiration. The astonishing novels I’ve shared here are among the most important books I’ve recently read to help grasp the critical times we’re living in. I’m confident you’ll feel the same.
Alan's book list on fiction on the real challenges our world now faces
Discover why each book is one of Alan's favorite books.
Why did Alan love this book?
I’ve just returned from a research trip to Iraq (one of many settings for my next book: stay tuned). I took along two Iraqi novels, The President's Gardens and Daughter of the Tigris (they’re really just one; the first literally ends with the words to be continued) and I was as stirred by reading them as by what I saw there. While we protest Russia’s outrageous rape of Ukraine, we forget the hideous mess that America’s unjustifiable invasion left in Iraq. Even under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was considered the flower of Arab culture, a land overflowing with poetry, music, and art. Today much of it is rubble. Masterfully, Al-Ramli describes the latter with all the breathtaking beauty of the former. This ranks among my most moving reading experiences ever.
The President's Gardens
Why should I read it?
1 author picked The President's Gardens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Kite Runner in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
"A contemporary tragedy of epic proportions. No author is better placed than Muhsin Al-Ramli, already a star in the Arabic literary scene, to tell this story. I read it in one sitting".
Hassan Blasim, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Iraqi Christ.
On the third day of Ramadan, the village wakes to find the severed heads of nine of its sons stacked in banana crates by the bus stop.
One of them belonged to one of the most wanted men in Iraq, known to…