A few weeks ago I was watching a movie on Netflix called The Hunter’s Prayer. An all round terrible movie that I highly recommend you skip. The thing that bothered me the most was a little side plot. The main character is a traumatized war veteran who served in the American army in Fallujah, Iraq. As he remembers the most painful part from his past, he remembers killing a dog. This part made me feel angry. Basically killing Iraqis was not weighing on his conscious. But killing a single dog did. This careless disregard for human life, when it comes to representing the American led war on Iraq, is hard to comprehend. I decided to assemble a list of books about Iraq to counter the scales a bit. Trying to do my part.
I Who Did Not Die
I Who Did Not Die by by Zahed Haftlang, Najah Aboud and Meredith May was my favorite read of 2017. It tells the true story of two soldiers: One Iraqi, the other Iranian. They meet on the battle field. Instead of killing each other, they become friends. So technically this isn’t a book about Iraq. This is a book about Iraq and Iran. However it covers the Iraqi/Irani war which is a painful part of the Iraqi narrative. If you ever need proof that love and compassion is greater than hate, then read this book. It’s well written and balanced, presenting the point of view of both men. It deals with the theme of horrors of war. This is not for the faint of heart. This is a book that you will continue to think about weeks after you put it down. The big surprise is how certain bits were immensely romantic. Like downright erotic.
Escape From Baghdad
Escape From Baghdad by Saad Hossain has the most creative acknowledgment I have ever read in a book. It starts with: “I’d like to acknowledge my family for mocking my literary pretensions ….” It made me laugh out loud, plus I showed it to my family. Thanks to my favorite bookTuber ThePoptimist for telling me about this unique novels. I highly recommend you follow his youTube channel where he discusses his literary adventures in a most entertaining fashion. Escape from Baghdad is a strange dark yet hilarious book. A surprise on each page. It is a completely unique book. I never read anything like it. Full octane on imagination. It uses fantasy, mystery, action, war, death, bizarre romance all inside the context of war torn Iraq. The characters you will meet inside this novel will live inside your imagination for years after you put this book down. When it comes to books about Iraq, this one is the most unexpected.
Guests Of The Shiek
Guests of the Sheik – Anthropology of an Iraqi Village by Elizabeth Fernea
is a short, very readable and touching story of an American woman who lives in an Iraqi village in the south of Iraq in the 50’s because of her anthropologist husband. I love this book because it focuses on the lives of women.
The Librarian Of Basra
The Librarian Of Basra by Jeanette Winter is a children’s book. It tells the true story of a woman librarian in Basra who attempted to salvage the books in the Basra library before and during the war. I read the story to my kids years ago with great affection. The illustrations were very nice and colorful. When it comes to books about Iraq, this one will delight readers of all ages.
The Corpse Washer
Earlier this year I read Index By Sinan Antoon which is my favorite novel I have read so far this year. Unfortunately, it’s not translated to English and so I can’t recommend it to you. However, another novel by the same author is translated so I am recommending that one. The Corpse Washer By Sinan Antoon tells the story of a man who prepares the dead bodies for burial. With war, dead bodies pile up and altering the life of the poor undertaker.
Do you have a book you would like me to add to this list of books about Iraq? Leave me a comment below. I would love to make a huge massive list.