The Sirens of Baghdad

by Yasmina Khadra

Get into the head of a young Iraqi man as he suffers the indignities and frustrations of the occupation in the relatively peaceful backwoods and then in the jagged edges of Baghdad and after. Makes you wonder how you’d cope with the poverty, bureaucracy and illogicality if it happened to you - by complacency or resistance?


I finished getting dressed, and then, without a glance at my sister or my cousin, I grabbed my bag and started down the steep path in the direction of the main trail. Don't turn around an interior voice admonished me. You're already gone. There's nothing for you here. Don't turn around. I turned around and saw my sister, standing on the mound, looking ghostly in her windblown dress,and my cousin. with his hands on his hips and his chin against his chest. I retraced my steps. My sister pressed herself against me. Her tears wet my cheeks. I felt her frail body shudder in my embrace. 'Please,' she said. 'Take care of yourself.'
Translated by John Cullen


The White Tiger by Aravind Adaviga

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