I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody

by Antoon, Sinan

An inventory of the General Security headquarters in central Baghdad reveals an obscure manuscript. Written by a young man in detention, the prose moves from prison life, to adolescent memories, to frightening hallucinations, and what emerges is a portrait of life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. In the tradition of Kafka’s “The Trial” or Orwell’s “1984, I’jaam” offers insight into life under an oppressive political regime and how that oppression works. This is a stunning debut by a major young Iraqi writer-in-exile. Sinan Antoon has been published in leading international journals and has co-directed “About Baghdad, ” an acclaimed documentary about Iraq under US occupation.