The Iraqi Christ

Posted by & filed under Translation.

Written by Hassan Blasimand translated by Jonathan Wright

Published by Comma Press.

A soldier with the ability to predict the future finds himself blackmailed by an insurgent into the ultimate act of terror…

A deviser of crosswords survives a car-bomb attack, only to discover he is now haunted by one of its victims…

Fleeing a robbery, a Baghdad shopkeeper falls into a deep hole, at the bottom of which sits a djinni and the corpse of a soldier from a completely different war…

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.

‘At first, you receive Blasim with the kind of shocked applause you’d award a fairly transgressive stand-up. You’re quite elated. Then you stop reading it at bedtime. At his best, Blasim produces a corrosive mixture of broken lyricism, bitter irony and hyper-realism which topples into the fantastic and the quotidian in the same reading moment.’ – M John Harrison

Hassan Blasim (born 1973) is an Iraqi-born writer and film director who lives in Finland. Blasim went to Finland as a refugee in 2004 after getting in trouble when making the film The Wounded Camera in the Kurdish area in northern Iraq. He made four short films for the Finnish broadcasting company Yle. His first short story collection Madman of Freedom Square was on the long list for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010.

 

Jonathan Wright is a British journalist and literary translator. He studied Arabic, Turkish and Islamic civilization at St John’s College, Oxford. He joined Reuters news agency in 1980 as a correspondent, and has been based in the Middle East for most of the last three decades. From 1998 to 2003, he was based in Washington, DC, covering U.S. foreign policy for Reuters.

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