The President's Gardens

by Muhsin Al-Ramli

The authority of a firsthand chronicle of the repression and inhumanity of Saddam's regime is raised to heartbreaking levels by the lives and fates of these lovable characters. Even the horrors of the Gulf Wars fade in comparison with the megalomaniac, psychopathic character of the President himself. Easy to read; harder than hard to cope with.


As far as was possible, Ibrahim would try to restore dignity to the torn disarray of the bodies and close their open eyes. How often he read expressions in those eyes! It was almost as though he could hear them speak. Some were frozen in the last moment of confusion, watching in terror as the killer approached for the final blow. Some seemed to be holding back words, while the longing of others burst forth: desire for parents, for children, or even for an opportunity to speak, for a mouthful of water or a breath of air. Some of the faces seemed happy, betraying a remarkable calm that Ibrahim seldom found in the faces of the living. Perhaps because their last thought was that at last their torture had come to an end.
Translated by Luke Leafgren


The Crazed by Ha Jin

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