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Sunday, 10 March 2013

Book Review: The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim

From legends of the desert to horrors of the forest, Blasim’s stories blend the fantastic with the everyday, the surreal with the all-too-real. Taking his cues from Kafka, his prose shines a dazzling light into the dark absurdities of Iraq’s recent past and the torments of its countless refugees. The subject of this, his second collection, is primarily trauma and the curious strategies human beings adopt to process it (including, of course, fiction). The result is a masterclass in metaphor – a new kind of story-telling, forged in the crucible of war, and just as shocking.

This was my first introduction to Hassan Blasim’s writing, despite this being his second collection of short stories, and he’s an author I immediately want to recommend to everyone.

Having won the English PEN Writers in Translation award twice, it is not difficult to see why; Blasim’s stories are unlike anything I have come across before. With narrators who speak from beyond the grave, sometimes from the depths of madness, Blasim explores a varied cast of characters using fantasy and absurdity to delve into the pain of their existence.

Order the book: The Iraqi Christ

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