By Ben East
It begins with a beheading. Then another, and another, until nine severed heads are found in a sleepy Iraqi village. It’s a shockingly vivid introduction to the violent, chaotic world of Muhsin Al-Ramli’s The President’s Garden.
Asking where the Iraqi novelist got his inspiration seems an innocent enough question. Nothing prepares you for the answer.
“On the third day of Ramadan in 2006, I received news of the slaughter of nine of my relatives who were fasting,” Al-Ramli says. “My village found their heads in banana crates, along with their ID cards, on the side of the main road near my family’s house.
It was longlisted for the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and this week an English translation, by Luke Leafgren, is finally published. It is a stunning achievement. Read more
Source: The National