by Shimon, Samuel
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each books comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city. Now, one of the world’s most war-town cities is portrayed through a noir lens in this chilling story collection.
Brand-new stories by: Sinan Antoon, Ali Bader, Mohammed Alwan Jabr, Nassif Falak, Dheya al-Khalidi, Hussain al-Mozany, Layla Qasrany, Hayet Raies, Muhsin al-Ramli, Ahmed Saadawi, Hadia Said, Salima Salih, Salar Abdoh, and Roy Scranton.
From the introduction by Samuel Shimon:
While all Iraqis will readily agree that their life has always been noir, the majority of the stories in Baghdad Noir are set in the years following the American invasion of 2003, though one story is set in 1950 and three are set in the 1970s and 1980s. Yet it is this recent history of Iraq—over the last few decades—that serves to inform its present . . . Cementing the destruction of Iraqi life was Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. But that was hardly the end of Iraq’s noir story. In April 2003, the US invasion, though it precipitated the end of Saddam’s dictatorial rule, killed off any possibility of a secular, modern Iraq once and for all.
Taken as a whole, the stories in Baghdad Noir testify to the enduring resilience of the Iraqi spirit amid an ongoing, real-life milieu of despair that the literary form of noir can at best only approximate. Yet the contributions here manage to hold their own as individual stories, where the rich traditions of intersecting cultures transcend the immediate political reality—even while being simultaneously informed by it. Much like the diverse tapestry of cultures that join together on the banks of the Tigris to form the City of Peace, Baghdad Noir reveals that there’s nothing monolithic or ordinary about the voices of its writers.