When the West invaded Iraq in 2003, Leilah Nadir felt as if she had been torn in two; both the occupier and the occupied coursed through her veins.
Born to an Iraqi father and an English mother, raised in Britain and Canada, she has always yearned to visit her father’s family but has never set foot on Iraqi soil. Now, as the bombs land on Baghdad and more of her relatives flee the country forever, Leilah begins to uncover the story of her lost roots. At the same time, she gets rare first-hand insight into what Iraqis are experiencing through the invasion and its aftermath. Her father is forced to look back as well, after decades of closing his eyes to Iraq’s pain.
The family home still stands intact, full of furniture, photographs and clothes still hanging in closets, all guarded by her great-aunt, who waits for someone to return and reclaim it. While American helicopters fly low overhead and suicide bombers shatter the calm, the date palms still sway in the heat of the day and jasmine continues to scent the Baghdad nights. The garden and its orange trees has changed beyond recognition, but still holds vivid nostalgic memories for the family.
Through her great-aunt and her cousins, Leilah learns what life is like in the embattled land as war becomes occupation and lawlessness takes hold. Leilah’s friend, award-winning photographer Farah Nosh, brings home news of Leilah’s family after her visits to Iraq as well as her own stories and photographs of Iraqis and their tragic stories.
And just as Leilah gives up hope of ever meeting her family, a surprise reunion takes place.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Leilah Nadir has a master’s degree in English Literature from Edinburgh University and a joint honours bachelor’s degree in English and history from McGill University. She has worked in the publishing industry in London and Vancouver. Her memoir The Orange Trees of Baghdad won the George Ryga award in 2008 and has been published in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Italy, Turkey and France. Since the invasion of Iraq, she has written and broadcast political commentaries for the CBC, The Globe and Mail and The Georgia Straight. She also writes fiction and has published stories in Descant magazine and articles in Brick magazine and the anthology How They See Us: Meditations on America. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and two children. Visit her website at www.leilahnadir.com
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Mother Tongue 15
Chapter 1 The Orange Orchard 27
Chapter 2 The Father Country 33
Chapter 3 The Motherland 63
Chapter 4 "It Is Written" 75
Chapter 5 The Three Graces 89
Chapter 6 Pieces of Civilization 111
Chapter 6 Porthole into Occupied Baghdad 121
Chapter 8 Occupation Limbo 137
Chapter 9 The Christians 147
Chapter 10 A Sugar Depression 155
Chapter 11 Snow in the Desert 165
Chapter 12 The Death of Lina 191
Chapter 13 The Flower of the Pomegranate 203
Chapter 14 Portraits of the Wounded 215
Chapter 15 Min Al'Sima, "From the Heavens" 227
Chapter 16 The Smell of a Car Bomb 241
Chapter 17 New Baghdad in Damascus 251
Chapter 18 Iraq Comes to Me 257
Chapter 19 A Letter from the City of Peace 28l
Chapter 20 Christmas in Baghdad 305
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