Contemporary Iraqi FictionBy Shakir (Indiana University) Mustafa
The first anthology of its kind in the West, "Contemporary Iraqi Fiction" gathers work from sixteen Iraqi writers, all translated from Arabic into English. Shedding a bright light on the rich diversity of Iraqi experience, Shakir Mustafa has included selections by Iraqi women, Iraqi Jews now living in Israel, and Christians and Muslims living both in Iraq and abroad.While each voice is distinct, they are united in writing about a homeland that has suffered under repression, censorship, war, and occupation. Many of the selections mirror these grim realities, forcing the writers to open up new narrative terrains and experiment with traditional forms. Muhammad Khodayyir's surrealist portraits of his home city, Basra, in an excerpt from Basriyyatha and the magical realism of Mayselun Hadi's "Calendars" both offer powerful expressions of the absurdity of everyday life. Themes range from childhood and family to war, political oppression, and interfaith relationships. Mustafa provides biographical sketches of the writers and an enlightening introduction chronicling the evolution of Iraqi literature.