Baghdad Central

Elliott Colla (Author)
Available

Description

Baghdad Central is a noir debut novel set in Baghdad in September 2003. Now a major TV series on HULU. The WSJ said: 'Baghdad Central," the impossible-to-stop-watching six-part series on Hulu, is a Middle Eastern western in the "High Noon" tradition, though that hardly does it justice. Yes, there's a solitary hero with the cards stacked against him. High-stakes gambling. Even a saloon. But the setting is Baghdad during the Iraq War.The US occupation of Iraq is a swamp of incompetence and self-delusion. The CPA has disbanded the Iraqi army and police as a consequence of its paranoid policy of de-Ba'athification of Iraqi society. Tales of hubris and reality-denial abound, culminating in Washington hailing the mess a glorious "mission accomplished."

Inspector Muhsin al-Khafaji is a mid-level Iraqi cop who deserted his post back in April. Khafaji has lived long enough in pre- and post-Saddam Iraq to know that clinging on to anything but poetry and his daughter, Mrouj, is asking for trouble. Nabbed by the Americans and imprisoned in Abu Ghraib, Khafaji is offered one way out--work for the CPA to rebuild the Iraqi Police Services. But it's only after United States forces take Mrouj that he figures out a way to make his collaboration palatable, and even rewarding. Soon, he is investigating the disappearance of young women translators working for the US Army. The bloody trail leads Khafaji through battles, bars, and brothels then finally back to the Green Zone, where it all began.

This is a first novel by Elliott Colla, an American writer totally immersed in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a professor of Arabic literature at Georgetown University, and a well-known translator from the Arabic of local fiction and poetry. He divides his time between Washington, DC, and the Middle East.


Product Details

Price
$14.95  $13.75
Publisher
Bitter Lemon Press
Publish Date
February 18, 2014
Pages
332
Dimensions
5.0 X 1.1 X 7.7 inches | 0.7 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781908524256

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About the Author

Elliott Colla, 47, lives between Washington DC and the Middle East. This is his first novel. He teaches Arabic literature at Georgetown University. He has translated much contemporary Arabic literature, including: Ibrahim Aslan's novel, The Heron, Idris Ali's Poor, Ibrahim al-Koni's Gold Dust, and Rabai al-Madhoun's The Lady from Tel Aviv. He is also a co-editor of the e-zine, Jadaliyya.

Reviews

'Powerful and authentic, Baghdad Central is a perilous journey through the dark maelstrom of wartime Iraq that will make you want to reach for a flak jacket and glance over your shoulder for surveillance, even as you're marvelling at its abiding humanity.' Dan Fesperman, author of Lie in the Dark
"An intriguing first novel...Colla writes of a beleaguered secular Arab culture with deep empathy." Publishers Weekly
'Just when you think that nothing in the overcrowded crime field can surprise you any more, along comes a writer like Elliott Colla who takes the genre by the throat and shakes it vigorously. Baghdad Central is a rich and allusive piece of writing, informed by the writer's experience in both the Middle East and Washington. Its authenticity is matched by a masterly command of the mechanics of suspense.' Barry Forshaw, Crime Time
'One rarely finds Iraqis in American fiction except as Orientalist stereotypes or objects of political desires and fantasies. Baghdad Central is unique in this respect. Its Iraqis are subjects with agency and humanity. Colla knows the cultural and political topography very well. The chaos and cacophony of the American occupation are captured vividly. The narrative is smart and smooth. This is an intense and well-written novel. A pleasure to read.' Sinan Antoon, author of The Baghdad Blues and The Corpse Washer
'A gripping tale of mystery and intrigue in the claustrophobic, morally treacherous world of post-invasion Baghdad, an environment where relationships can detonate as readily as car bombs. This is a compelling noir crime novel told from inside Iraqi society that lays bare the easy slide from personal to political treachery, where every crime is also a national wound. A great read! ' Jenny White, author of The Winter Thief, A Kamil Pasha novel
"For all those with an interest in what life was like in Baghdad under the CPA, this should be required reading...credible and authoritative, [making] Bag
'A murder mystery set in post-Saddam Baghdad is as good as it is daring.' Independent

'It is rare to find a first book of such high quality, and which gives such a penetrating and realistic insight into the impact of a forceful external shock to an ancient and singular culture.' Crime Review

'Colla writes with power and authority. Politically astute, beautifully constructed and a rattling good read.' New Internationalist

'A very brave book.' San Francisco Book Review

'Powerful and authentic, Baghdad Central is a perilous journey through the dark maelstrom of wartime Iraq that will make you want to reach for a flak jacket and glance over your shoulder for surveillance, even as you're marvelling at its abiding humanity.' Dan Fesperman, author of Lie in the Dark

"An intriguing first novel...Colla writes of a beleaguered secular Arab culture with deep empathy." Publishers Weekly

'Aside from the beauty of the writing, the strength of Colla's work lies in its ambiguity. Colla paints a nuanced landscape of a country at war, where each character is driven by a complex tangle of personal and nationalistic aims.' Daily Star

'Just when you think that nothing in the overcrowded crime field can surprise you any more, along comes a writer like Elliott Colla who takes the genre by the throat and shakes it vigorously. Baghdad Central is a rich and allusive piece of writing, informed by the writer's experience in both the Middle East and Washington. Its authenticity is matched by a masterly command of the mechanics of suspense.' Barry Forshaw, Crime Time

'One rarely finds Iraqis in American fiction except as Orientalist stereotypes or objects of political desires and fantasies. Baghdad Central is unique in this respect. Its Iraqis are subjects with agency and humanity. Colla knows the cultural and political topography very well. The chaos and cacophony of the American occupation are captured vividly. The narrative is smart and smooth. This is an intense and well-written novel. A pleasure to read.' Sinan Antoon, author of The Baghdad Blues and The Corpse Washer

'A gripping tale of mystery and intrigue in the claustrophobic, morally treacherous world of post-invasion Baghdad, an environment where relationships can detonate as readily as car bombs. This is a compelling noir crime novel told from inside Iraqi society that lays bare the easy slide from personal to political treachery, where every crime is also a national wound. A great read! ' Jenny White, author of The Winter Thief, A Kamil Pasha novel

"For all those with an interest in what life was like in Baghdad under the CPA, this should be required reading...credible and authoritative, [making] Baghdad Central a book I recommend." Opinionator