In December, English PEN supports the promotion of The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim (winner of a 2012 English PEN Award), a unique collection of short stories that explore Iraq’s recent past – an incredibly timely collection as the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches in 2013. Translated by Jonathan Wright and published by Comma Press.
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.
Hassan Blasim will visit the UK in December. He will appear in Newcastle on 10th December, in Manchester on 11th and in London at The Mosaic Rooms on 12th December, where he will appear with his translator Jonathan Wright. For full tour details follow this link.
“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