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Baghdad Noir by Samuel Shimon

Baghdad Noir

by Samuel Shimon (Editor)

Other authors: Salar Abdoh (Contributor), Dheya al-Khalidi (Contributor), Hussain al-Mozany (Contributor), Muhsin al-Ramli (Contributor), Sinan Antoon (Contributor)9 more, Ali Bader (Contributor), Nassif Falak (Contributor), Mohammed Alwan Jabr (Contributor), Layla Qasrany (Contributor), Hayet Raies (Contributor), Ahmed Saadawi (Contributor), Hadia Said (Contributor), Salima Salih (Contributor), Roy Scranton (Contributor)

Series: Akashic Books Noir Series

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Baghdad Noir is another short story collection in Akaschic's long series of story collections set in various cities around the world. This time around, the stories all center on Baghdad and its outskirts, and thirteen of the collection's fourteen stories are written by Iraqi authors. As in all short story collections I've ever read, the stories can be a little hit-or-miss depending on the taste of the individual reader, but as a whole, Baghdad Noir is well worth reading.

The stories focus on everything from everyday life to the intrigues and dangers common to war torn cities around the world, and the writers do a good job in capturing the atmosphere within which all their mysteries and crimes take place. One of the more interesting stories, precisely because it focuses on a period seldom captured in fiction today, is set in 1950. That story, "Baghdad House," though, has a bit of a nebulous endings and is not among my favorites, as it turns out.

My favorites are "Jasim's File," a story with a bit of a twist at the end about a man who escapes from a mental institution when the building is hit in during a firefight, and "Baghdad on Borrowed Time," a well crafted story about someone taking revenge on numerous members of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. I also like the cleverness of the one story in the book by a non-Iraqi, American Roy Scranton, called "Homecoming," another story of revenge and murder - a combination that I can well imagine occurs in Baghdad today way more than anyone would like to think. ( )
  SamSattler | Sep 24, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Most of the stories in this book are written by Iraqis and seem to rely on a common understanding of Iraq generally and Baghdad in particular. There are gangsters, corruption and other criminal acts, with violence of various kinds happening throughout. There is a strong sense that actions are happening just off-camera - it frequently feels like characters are subject to events just beyond their control or understanding, without a lot of background provided to give the reader a better grasp of what's going on in the characters' worlds than the characters themselves have. The major exception is the story written by the American contributor, which is so different that it might as well be in a different universe. Possibly assuming that his audience is American and therefore has a much lower grasp of reality and geography in Iraq, the American story name-drops a large number of cities and locations, while none of the other stories are written that way.

The stories themselves are, as could be expected, mixed - some good, some intriguing, some neither of those. My personal favorite of the lot is Jasim's File - I won't spoil it, but it's based on very real events and also one of the most disturbing amongst a number of unsettling stories. ( )
  Matthew1982 | Sep 22, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Overall I thought the anthology was average. A few of the stories seemed to be just going through the motions, but three stood out above the others.

Hayet Raies' "The Fear of Iraqi Intelligence" blended young romance with the secret police. The potent combination makes for great noir.

Hussain al-Mozany's "Empty Bottles" is the type of noir where where the reader isn't sure what's real or not, as the protagonist pursues the man who killed a neighbor of his. He personally witnessed the murder as a young child and it has haunted him his entire life.

Roy Scranton's "Homecoming" is a revenge tale I could see coming from a distance, but the joy (as a reader) was seeing how it would get put together and whether he would pull it off. ( )
  KingRat | Sep 22, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In the introduction to Baghdad Noir Samuel Shimon states that Iraq does not traditionally have Noir as a genre and the authors in this book had to be fed examples (specifically a translation of a Maggie Estep story from an earlier volume). This shows often throughout the book.

That's not to say that the stories are bad, but that they feel uneven and at times unsure of themselves. I've read most of this series and often come out of the books with a favorite story, but I didn't feel a standout in this one. They were all just "ok" ( )
  Tucker.Christine | Sep 20, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Baghdad Noir is a collection of fourteen crime stories. Ten of the stories have been written by Iraqi authors. The other four were written by authors who have spent some time in Baghdad. I found that though the stories were about crime, many were not mysteries. I did not sense a " who done it " theme. For me, they were well written stories. All of the stories center on districts of Bagdad, but I did not see the significance.
I enjoyed this book. I knew nothing about Baghdad before reading it. This book taught me a lot about the people of Iraq, their family relationships, and culture. I also got value from insight about their politics, both before and after the American occupation. I learned a little about such things as their cuisine, living conditions and religion. I also got to see the impact of the Baath party and how it affected the quality of life for some.
I'm glad I read this book. I recommend it. ( )
  milkmanson | Sep 8, 2018 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shimon, SamuelEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abdoh, SalarContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
al-Khalidi, DheyaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
al-Mozany, HussainContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
al-Ramli, MuhsinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Antoon, SinanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bader, AliContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Falak, NassifContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jabr, Mohammed AlwanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Qasrany, LaylaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Raies, HayetContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saadawi, AhmedContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Said, HadiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Salih, SalimaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scranton, RoyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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