ijaam.jpgA handful of times in my life I have finished a book and turned it over to start again. Sometimes I want to carry the book around with me even after I’ve closed the pages, just to look at the cover and remember. I finished reading I’jaam – An Iraqi Rhapsody by Sinan Antoon three days ago, and I keep going back to pick it up and read.

In this fictional memoir, a forgotten manuscript is found in a filing cabinet of an Iraqi prison. Someone must read through it and determine what should be done with it. The entire book is that manuscript, which was written by a poet jailed during Sadaam’s regime. The mixture of beauty and pain throughout reminds me of Elie Wiesel’s Night, a deeply moving story of a Nazi concentration camp victim.

Weighty in substance but not difficult to read, I’jaam deserves to go down in history as an account of what happened in the Iraq of Sadaam’s terror. This book is not political. It is deeply human, and no matter what your race, religion, or ethnicity, you will walking away with more understanding and compassion. The book’s 97 pages allows the reader to finish in a few submersed hours which gives it more of an impact.

Sinan Antoon was born in Baghdad and now lives in New York where he teaches Arabic literature and culture at NYU. He’s also a poet, a novelist, and a filmmaker, having co-directed and produced a documentary called About Baghdad.

Win Your Own Copy: If you want to experience I’jaam too, I am fortunate enough to have a copy to give away. Leave a comment here telling me what intrigues you about the book. For another entry, post a link on your blog to this giveaway. If you are subscribed to carp(e) libris reviews, you are already entered to win this and all other book giveaways here, but feel free to comment and link for extra entries as well. The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday March 2, 2008, at 12:00pm.

Buy I’Jaam here and support carp(e) libris and your local bookseller.

Published by City Lights Books.

carp(e) libris goldfish award book

82 Comments

  1. I have been intriuged with literature from this part of the world for a very long time..I would love to win this book!!

  2. intriguing book where I can learn to understand another culture!

  3. wow finally something to read about the middle east from an iraqui’s point of view; looks very interesting

  4. Susanne Troop

    This book looks like a very interesting read!

  5. sound like a good read!

  6. I love hearing about what it’s really like living in other countries and appreciate where I do live!!

  7. Mickey Anderson

    Book sounds very interesting. Would love to win so I could enjoy it. thanks.

  8. Would love to read this!

  9. Knowledge is gained from both the USA/Iraqui sides of presentation. lets hear it again.

  10. would love this

  11. I am ashamed to say that with all that’s going on between our counties, I have never watched an Iraqi film or read a book by an Iraqi author.

  12. Cheryl English

    I believe this would be very interesting to read. Would love the chance. Thank You.

  13. Rosanne Morrison

    There is nothing better than a book which exposes raw human emotion.

  14. TY 4 THE CONTEST! THE BOOK LOOKS GOOD.

  15. I find the low page count contrasted with the intense subject matter intriguing.

  16. Uuuuuuuh! I’d love to win it…hope I am not too late!!

    Great Review, and I love your blog title!

  17. i am too late…oh well. bummer.

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