One morning Mustafa Ali Noman, a teacher in Baghdad, is arrested as he reaches the school gates. For the next fifteen months he witnesses countless scenes of torture as he himself is brutally interrogated, shuffled from prison to prison and barred from contacting his family.
The question of his guilt or innocence clearly irrelevant, Mustafa must fight to retain a grip on reality. ‘How do I know that I am not dreaming this?’ he asks.
Mahmoud Saeed’s devastating novel evokes the works of Kafka, Solzhenitsyn and Elie Wiesel in its account of wanton treatment by Saddam Hussein’s feared secret police. Narrated in a straightforward manner that makes it all the more vivid, Mustafa’s story testifies to the brutal arbitrariness of life under tyranny.
About the Author
Mahmoud Saeed was born in Mosul, Iraq, in 1938. In 1963 he was imprisoned on political charges for a year, to be followed by three years of suspension from employment. The detentions continued until his sixth and final incarceration in 1980. In 1985 Saeed emigrated to the United Arab Emirates, and since 1999 he has been a political refugee in the US. He has published nine books in Arabic and received many literary awards.
‘Mahmoud Saeed’s devastating novel evokes the works of Kafka, Solzhenitsyn and Elie Wiesel. It is a vivid account of the wanton and brutal treatment of the Iraqi people by Saddam Hussein’s feared secret police and of the arbitrariness of life under tyranny.’
The Middle East
'[This] gripping and relentless novel ... captures the cruel capriciousness of tyranny and genuinely represents the variegated fabric of the seemingly endless guest list of Iraqi prisons.'
‘A bruising account of the brutally arbitrary way in which life can be derailed under dictatorship ... Compelling’