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The Madman of Freedom Square

Hassan Blasim

Translated by Jonathan Wright

The Madman of Freedom Square
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 905583 25 6
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Arabic, Translation, War writings
Imprint: Comma Press
Published: August 2009
198 x 129 x 6 mm
90 pages
Publisher: Comma Press
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • From hostage-video makers in Baghdad, to human trafficking in the forests of Serbia, institutionalised paranoia in the Saddam years, to the nightmares of an exile trying to embrace a new life in Amsterdam... Blasim’s stories present an uncompromising view of the West's relationship with Iraq, spanning over twenty years and taking in everything from the Iran-Iraq War through to the Occupation, as well as offering a haunting critique of the post-war refugee experience.

    Blending allegory with historical realism, and subverting readers’ expectations in an unflinching comedy of the macabre, these stories manage to be both phantasmagoric and shockingly real, light in touch yet steeped in personal nightmare. For all their despair and darkness, though, what lingers more than the haunting images of war, or the insanity of those who would benefit from it, is the spirit of defiance, the indefatigable courage of those few characters keeping faith with what remains of human intelligence.

    Together these stories represent the first major literary work about the war from an Iraqi perspective.
    Hassan Blasim
    Hassan Blasim is a poet, filmmaker and short story writer. Born in Baghdad in 1973, he studied at the city's Academy of Cinematic Arts, where two of his films Gardenia (screenplay & director) and White Clay (screenplay) won the Academy's Festival Award for Best Work in their respective years. In 1998 ... read more
    Awards won by Hassan Blasim Long-listed, 2010 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (The Madman of Freedom Square) Winner, 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (The Iraqi Christ )
     'Blasim pitches everyday horror into something almost gothic... his taste for the surreal can be Gogol-like.'
    The Independent
     'Crisp and shocking... Too febrile and macabre to file under reportage, this cruel, funny and unsettling debut has hooks and twists that will lodge in any mind.'
    The Guardian
      'Blasim moves adeptly between surreal, internalised states of mind and ironic commentary on Islamic extremism and the American invasion... excellent.'
    The Metro
       'At first you receive it 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 & hyper-realism which topples into the fantastic & the quotidian in the same reading moment.'
    M John Harrison blog.
     'The news machine has shifted its attention to Afghanistan, and Iraqis are being left to fend for themselves. Blasim's collection reminds us that anything could still happen there. Iraq's story must still be told, and we need Iraqi voices like Blasim's to tell it.'
    Intelligent Life
    Praise for Hassan Blasim 'It is the first time in the prize’s 24-year history that it has gone to an Arab writer and also the first time that a short story collection has been victorious.'
    The Bookseller
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