Madman of Freedom Square, The

by Blasim, Hassan

From the Iran–Iraq War through the Occupation, this collection of fictional short stories presents an uncompromising view of the relationship between the West and Iraq, as well as a haunting critique of the postwar refugee experience. Blending allegory with historical realism and subverting expectations in an unflinching comedy of the macabre, these tales manage to be both phantasmagoric and shockingly real. For all the despair and darkness portrayed in these gripping stories—from spotlighting hostage-video makers in Baghdad to following human trafficking in Serbia’s forests—what lingers more than the haunting images of war is the spirit of defiance and of indefatigable courage.