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The Last of the Angels: A Modern Iraqi Novel

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The Last of the Angels: A Modern Iraqi Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Set in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk during the 1950s, Fadhil al-Azzawi??'s novel The Last of the Angels tells the slyly humorous tale of three strikingly different people in one small neighborhood. During a labor strike against the British-run Iraq Petroleum Company, Hameed Nylon becomes a labor organizer and later a revolutionary, like his hero, Mao Tse-Tung. His brother-in-law, the sheep butcher Khidir Musa, travels to the Soviet Union to find his long-lost brothers, and returns home to great acclaim (and personal fortune) in an airship. Meanwhile, a young boy named Burhan Abdullah discovers an old chest in the attic of his family??'s house that lets him talk to angels. By turns satiric, picaresque, and apocalyptic, The Last of the Angels evokes the colorful atmosphere of Kirkuk, with its mix of Turkmen, Kurds, Arabs, Jews, and Assyrian Christians.Painting a loving, panoramic, and elegiac portrait of the city in the final years of Iraq??'s monarchy, al-Azzawi narrates his novel with a wry humor worthy of Twain and a magical nuance akin to Garcia Marquez. From a family??'s cat that is revealed to be a jinn to a murdered barber who ends up hailed as a saint with his own shrine, The Last of the Angels skillfully blends the comic and the supernatural. But as the grim reality of modern Iraqi history catches up with the novel??'s events, we come to learn the depth and complexity of Hameed Nylon, Khidir Musa, and Burhan Abdullah, and al-Azzawi??'s comic novel becomes a moving tale of growing up in a dangerous world.

Review:

"Al-Azzawi left Iraq in 1977 for exile in Germany. This 1992 novel about 1950s Kirkuk was banned in Iraq: it covers a series of hilarious, surreal and sometimes horrifying adventures in a neighborhood of Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds during the fall of the monarchy and the rise of the Ba'ath Party. Hameed Nylon — a nickname born of rumors that he lost his job with the Iraq Petroleum Company after offering his English boss's wife a pair of stockings in exchange for sex — becomes an unlikely leader of a people's revolution. Khidir Musa, a butcher suffering midlife crisis, has a vision that starts him on a quest to find his two brothers, missing in the Soviet Union since WWI. A barber killed by an errant bullet during a demonstration becomes a saint whose mausoleum attracts worshippers from afar. Young Burhan Abdallah comes upon three angels who promise to bring rebirth to Kirkuk: he waits for them to keep their word through the rise and fall of one cruel tyrant after another. With comic coincidence as a major plot device, Al-Azzawi explores politics, religion, culture and self-interest with very little inhibition (except where it comes to women, who are mostly absent) in this rollicking, bittersweet satire. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A magical, comic, and ultimately profound story of Kirkuk fifty years ago

Synopsis:

Al-Azzawi pens this magical, comic, and ultimately profound story of Kirkuk, Iraq, and looks at life there 50 years ago.

Synopsis:

From a legendary writer both beloved and banished by Iraq — a fine work of Arabic literature in the vein of Naguib Mahfouz and Elias Khoury, and a magical and moving comic novel about the birth of modern Iraq.

Kirkuk, Iraq, the 1950s. The day Hameed Nylon loses his job, and gains an unfortunate nickname, is the day that his life begins: dismissed as a chauffeur when rumors surface that he propositioned his British boss's posh-tart wife, Hameed finds his true calling as a revolutionary in an Iraq that is destined for a sea change. Also bent on bucking the system is Hameed's brother-in-law, the money-scheming butcher Khidir Musa, who runs off suddenly to Russia to find two brothers who have been missing since World War I. And the key to their fate is held by a seven-year-old boy, Burhan Abdallah, who stumbles upon an old chest in his attic that allows him to speak with three white-robed old men, beings who inform him that they are, in fact, angels.

Synopsis:

From a legendary writer both beloved and banished by Iraq — a fine work of Arabic literature in the vein of Naguib Mahfouz and Elias Khoury, and a magical and moving comic novel about the birth of modern Iraq.

Kirkuk, Iraq, the 1950s. The day Hameed Nylon loses his job, and gains an unfortunate nickname, is the day that his life begins: dismissed as a chauffeur when rumors surface that he propositioned his British boss's posh-tart wife, Hameed finds his true calling as a revolutionary in an Iraq that is destined for a sea change. Also bent on bucking the system is Hameed's brother-in-law, the money-scheming butcher Khidir Musa, who runs off suddenly to Russia to find two brothers who have been missing since World War I. And the key to their fate is held by a seven-year-old boy, Burhan Abdallah, who stumbles upon an old chest in his attic that allows him to speak with three white-robed old men, beings who inform him that they are, in fact, angels.

About the Author

Fadhil al-Azzawi is the author of many volumes of poetry, novels, and criticism. A member of the avant-garde Kirkuk Group of poets during the 1960s, he left Iraq in 1977, after being imprisoned for three years by the Baath regime for his political activities. He lives in Germany.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781416567455
Author:
Al-azzawi, Fadhil
Publisher:
Free Press
Translator:
Hutchins, William M.
Author:
Al-Azzawi, Fadhil
Author:
'Azzawi, Fadil
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20080731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 9.905 oz

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Last of the Angels: A Modern Iraqi Novel New Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages Free Press - English 9781416567455 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Al-Azzawi left Iraq in 1977 for exile in Germany. This 1992 novel about 1950s Kirkuk was banned in Iraq: it covers a series of hilarious, surreal and sometimes horrifying adventures in a neighborhood of Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds during the fall of the monarchy and the rise of the Ba'ath Party. Hameed Nylon — a nickname born of rumors that he lost his job with the Iraq Petroleum Company after offering his English boss's wife a pair of stockings in exchange for sex — becomes an unlikely leader of a people's revolution. Khidir Musa, a butcher suffering midlife crisis, has a vision that starts him on a quest to find his two brothers, missing in the Soviet Union since WWI. A barber killed by an errant bullet during a demonstration becomes a saint whose mausoleum attracts worshippers from afar. Young Burhan Abdallah comes upon three angels who promise to bring rebirth to Kirkuk: he waits for them to keep their word through the rise and fall of one cruel tyrant after another. With comic coincidence as a major plot device, Al-Azzawi explores politics, religion, culture and self-interest with very little inhibition (except where it comes to women, who are mostly absent) in this rollicking, bittersweet satire. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , A magical, comic, and ultimately profound story of Kirkuk fifty years ago
"Synopsis" by , Al-Azzawi pens this magical, comic, and ultimately profound story of Kirkuk, Iraq, and looks at life there 50 years ago.
"Synopsis" by ,

From a legendary writer both beloved and banished by Iraq — a fine work of Arabic literature in the vein of Naguib Mahfouz and Elias Khoury, and a magical and moving comic novel about the birth of modern Iraq.

Kirkuk, Iraq, the 1950s. The day Hameed Nylon loses his job, and gains an unfortunate nickname, is the day that his life begins: dismissed as a chauffeur when rumors surface that he propositioned his British boss's posh-tart wife, Hameed finds his true calling as a revolutionary in an Iraq that is destined for a sea change. Also bent on bucking the system is Hameed's brother-in-law, the money-scheming butcher Khidir Musa, who runs off suddenly to Russia to find two brothers who have been missing since World War I. And the key to their fate is held by a seven-year-old boy, Burhan Abdallah, who stumbles upon an old chest in his attic that allows him to speak with three white-robed old men, beings who inform him that they are, in fact, angels.

"Synopsis" by ,

From a legendary writer both beloved and banished by Iraq — a fine work of Arabic literature in the vein of Naguib Mahfouz and Elias Khoury, and a magical and moving comic novel about the birth of modern Iraq.

Kirkuk, Iraq, the 1950s. The day Hameed Nylon loses his job, and gains an unfortunate nickname, is the day that his life begins: dismissed as a chauffeur when rumors surface that he propositioned his British boss's posh-tart wife, Hameed finds his true calling as a revolutionary in an Iraq that is destined for a sea change. Also bent on bucking the system is Hameed's brother-in-law, the money-scheming butcher Khidir Musa, who runs off suddenly to Russia to find two brothers who have been missing since World War I. And the key to their fate is held by a seven-year-old boy, Burhan Abdallah, who stumbles upon an old chest in his attic that allows him to speak with three white-robed old men, beings who inform him that they are, in fact, angels.

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