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.
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Number of pages: 272
Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm
`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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