A blistering debut that does for the Iraqi perspective on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan what Phil Klay's Redeployment does for the American perspective
"[A] wonderful collection." -George Saunders, The New York Times Book Review
The first major literary work about the Iraq War from an Iraqi perspective-by an explosive new voice hailed as "perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive" (The Guardian)-The Corpse Exhibition shows us the war as we have never seen it before. Here is a world not only of soldiers and assassins, hostages and car bombers, refugees and terrorists, but also of madmen and prophets, angels and djinni, sorcerers and spirits.
Blending shocking realism with flights of fantasy, The Corpse Exhibition offers us a pageant of horrors, as haunting as the photos of Abu Ghraib and as difficult to look away from, but shot through with a gallows humor that yields an unflinching comedy of the macabre. Gripping and hallucinatory, this is a new kind of storytelling forged in the crucible of war.
Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize One of Publishers Weekly's 10 Best Books of the Year
"Surreal and mind-blowing and completely necessary." -Jayne Anne Phillips, The Wall Street Journal, "Favorite Books of the Year"
"Arresting, auspicious . . . Well-plotted, blackly comic . . . Sharp, tragicomic moments . . . persist in memory. . . . Its opening story [features] a terrorist middle manager who wouldn't be out of place in one of George Saunders's workplace nightmares. . . . 'The Song of the Goats' [is] a cunning gem. . . . If a short story could break the heart of a rock, this might just be the one. . . . The collection's last story is so complicatedly good [with] an ending worthy of Rod Serling. Mr. Blasim's stories owe more than a little of their dream logic to [Carlos] Fuentes and Serling, with maybe some Julio Cortázar thrown in. . . . Their sequence imparts a mounting novelistic power." -The New York Times
"Brilliant and disturbing . . . Bitter, furious and unforgettable, the stories seem to have been carved out of the country's suppurating history like pieces of ragged flesh." -The Wall Street Journal
"Superb . . . The existence of this book is reason for hope, proof of the power of storytelling." -The Boston Globe
"Subtly and powerfully evocative . . . Superbly translated." -The New York Review of Books
"Visceral, full of horror and absurdity . . . Blasim is an Iraqi Kafka with a touch of Edgar Allan Poe thrown in, and his pen spares no one who commits atrocities, Americans and Iraqis alike." -Brian Castner, "This Week's Must Read" on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered
"Perhaps the greatest writer of Arabic fiction alive . . . [His stories are] crisp and shocking . . . cruel, funny and unsettling [with] hooks and twists that will lodge in any mind." -The Guardian
"A modern classic of post-war witness, elegy and revolt . . . Think Irvine Welsh in post-war and post-Saddam Baghdad, with the shades of Kafka and Burroughs also stalking these sad streets. . . . [Blasim] depict[s] a pitiless era with searing compassion, pitch-black humour and a sort of visionary yearning for a more fully human life. . . . Amid all the scars of combat, these stories seek and find comedy, magic, affection and even an urge towards transcendence." -The Independent
"Line for line and paragraph for paragraph, Blasim writes more interestingly than [Phil] Klay. . . . His content is more strange and striking. . . . Blasim is an artist of the horrendously extraordinary. . . . [His] stories are almost Hemingwayesque in their stripped-down style and content. . . . Blasim has a sense of humor. He must have learned his jokes from the Grim Reaper." -William T. Vollmann, Bookforum
"Brilliant . . . [A] much-needed perspective on a war-ravaged country . . . It is a slim but potent collection and will go a long way to making Blasim's name in American literary circles. . . . Blasim plants his flag squarely in the tradition of Kafka, Borges, and other writers of surreal and otherwise metaphysical fiction. . . . He has a vital subject and takes it seriously: Iraq and its people. . . . He has written a fresh and disturbing book, full of sadness and humor, alive with intelligent contradiction." -The Daily Beast
"A bravura collection . . . Mind-bendingly bizarre . . . Blasim . . . lights his charnel house with guttering flares of wit. . . . [Be] ready to be shocked and awed by these pitch-black fairytales." -The National
"Unforgettable . . . Very important . . . [Blasim's stories] could only come out of firsthand experience of the war." -Flavorwire, 10 Must-Read Books for February
"A vivid, sometimes lurid picture of wartime Iraq [by] one of the most important Arabic-language storytellers . . . Violent, bleak and occasionally beautiful . . . Dark and sometimes bitterly funny . . . Most of these stories feel ready to collapse or explode at any moment. . . . The reader walks on solid ground one moment, and the next t