Magazine article New Internationalist

The Long Way Back by Fuad Al-Takarli

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Long Way Back by Fuad Al-Takarli

Article excerpt

(The American University in Cairo Press ISBN 977 424 646 2)

This fine, complex novel from one of Iraq's most accomplished and subtle writers was first published in Arabic in 1980 and its publication in an English translation could not be more timely. The book is set in the 1960s and tells the story of four generations of one family living in a rambling old house in the Bab al-Shaykh quarter of Baghdad. The opening pages plunge the reader into the initially confusing tangle of - mostly female - interrelationships in this close-knit but troubled household. The aged patriarch is ill and his three sons are, to varying degrees, damaged and unable to control events. Hussayn is an unstable drunkard who is seen by his wife and his six-year-old daughter only intermittently. Mihdat is a suicidal loser and the third brother `Abd al-Karim has been driven mad by witnessing the death of his closest friend in a car accident. …

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