[20 Apr 2023 | No Comment | 21 views]

By Quentin Perissinotto for Le Regard Libre, 11 April 2023
The Orchards of Basra is an illusory attempt to resuscitate images and bring them to life. Hishâm, an antique book dealer in Cairo, is inhabited and haunted by a dream: he sees angels picking all the jasmine in Basra. Determined to decipher the meaning of this dream, he flips through the pages of an 8th century manuscript , The Great Book of the Interpretation of Dreams , which lists this vision. He discovers there that the author predicts this vision as the slow and disastrous disappearance of all the intellectuals of …

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[21 Mar 2023 | No Comment | 23 views]
Khaled Khalifa on the act of reading under a dictatorship, for La Croix

Khaled Khalifa, in an interview with Marianne Meunier for La Croix, March 10, 2023
Originally from Aleppo, Khaled Khalifa lives in Damascus, which he never wanted to leave despite the conflict. He reads there alone, saddened to no longer be able to discuss his reading with his relatives, most of whom have left.

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[20 Mar 2023 | No Comment | 36 views]
Sinan Antoon writes about the US war on Iraq, twenty years and “a million lives” later

A million lives later, I cannot forgive what American terrorism did to my country, Iraq
Sinan Antoon, for The Guardian, March 19th, 2023
In early 2003, I was living in Cairo and carrying out research for my doctoral dissertation on a famous Iraqi poet who lived in my hometown, Baghdad, in the 10th century. But I was increasingly anxious about the Baghdad of the 21st century.

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[7 Mar 2023 | No Comment | 15 views]
Les jardins de Basra

By Guirado for Mare Nostrum, January 3, 2023
It all starts with a dream. A haunting and poetic dream in which angels descend from heaven to pick jasmine from the gardens of Basra – present-day Basra in Iraq. This dream continually monopolizes the mind of Hishâm Khattab who, after brilliant studies in geology which did not lead to any professional opportunities, now earns his living by reselling old books.

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[7 Mar 2023 | No Comment | 26 views]
Mansoura Ezeldin “brilliantly mixes the codes of ancient Arabic writing with those of the contemporary novel” – Richard Jacquemond reviews “The orchards of Basra” for Le Monde des Livres

By Richard Jacquemond, for Le Monde des Livres, February 9th, 2023
Hisham, who lives off the antique book trade, is haunted by a dream. He sees himself alive, under the name of Yazid Ibn Abihi, in Basra (or Basra, name of the second city of Iraq, located in the south of the country), at the end of the first century of the Hegira, when this city was a major intellectual and religious center of the nascent Islamic empire.

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