Translated from: English
Authors: Saadawi, Ahmed
Translated by: Geležauskas, Matas
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2018
Publisher: Liūtai ne avys
“Frankenstein in Baghdad” is a book that combines the cruel reality of everyday life in Iraq and supernatural fiction using the motifs of a classic horror story.
The story takes place in US-occupied Baghdad, where every day is marked by explosions, shootings, wreckages and corpses. Hadi, a junk-dealer living here, wanders the streets of the town. From the streets covered with ruins and debris, he collects the scattered body parts of bomb victims, brings it home and stitches into one corpse. He wants for the authorities to recognize individual parts as humans and properly bury them.
However, one rainy night, the corpse suddenly disappears and a chain of horrific homicides begins in the city. Many witnesses start talking about a scary-looking criminal, who cannot be shot down even with bullets. The weirdo Hadi then realizes that he has created a monster that needs human body parts to survive. At first the monster kills the criminals, later anyone that crosses its path.
It is a story of horror and dark humor about today’s Iraq, revealing the horrific reality of the country. The book gives a much deeper insight than the reports of Western news services. The novel helps the reader understand more clearly the consequences of the American invasion of Iraq and highlights how violence creates only more violence. This book intertwines the experiences of Iraqis belonging to different social groups in the context of the chaos caused by the civil war, where the lives of a journalist, a widowed grandmother, a strange poor man, the rich and other personalities intertwine.
Using the means of horrific consequences of a destructive war, such as the body parts of victims of terrorism laying in the streets, the author “fights” violence and ridicules the futility of war, and the monster created by Hadi becomes a symbol of all this absurdity.
Ahmed Saadawi is the first author from Iraq, who has won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for “Frankenstein in Baghdad” in 2014. His book has also been awarded the Grand Fiction Prize of the French Academy and is a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize. Poet Saadawi was born in 1973 in Baghdad, where he still lives. Here he writes novels and screenplays and makes documentaries and has been elected to the Beirut39 list as one of the top 39 writers in Arabic under the age of 39.