jueves, 3 de agosto de 2017

audiobook / The President's Gardens

حدائق الرئيس بصيغة (كتاب مسموع) بالانكليزية
The President's Gardens
 audiobook
 

 

The President’s Gardens /BANIPAL magazine /Becki Maddock

REVIEW
The President’s Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli

Becki Maddock
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Presidents-Gardens-Muhsin-Al-Ramli/dp/0857056786

lunes, 31 de julio de 2017

BOOK SHELF / VERVE MAGAZINE

01 — The President’s Garden  

Muhsin Al-Ramli
The author of this stunning novel served as a tank commander with the Iraqi army during the Gulf War. He has been living in Spain since 1995 but it is his real life experiences from his time living in Iraq that are the cornerstones of his novel. The story begins on the third day of Ramadan when nine banana boxes are discovered by a villager. Each contains the severed head of nine of the men from the village. Behind the brutal deaths are the stories of a war, a revolution and the secrets buried with the bodies in the President’s gardens. A haunting read that stays with you long after you have turned the last page. If it is your pick for book club it will provoke debate and discussion like no other novel.

The President's Gardens / Billiken Bookmarks: Summer / SLU

Billiken Bookmarks: 

Summer Reading Picks From SLU Authors

07/27/2017
https://www.slu.edu/news/announcements/2017/july/billiken-bookmark-alramli.php
Looking for that next great read? In this mini-series, some of Saint Louis University’s published authors share their recommendations for memorable summer reading with their fellow staff, faculty and students.
In this edition, Newslink turns the spotlight on a novel by SLU-Madrid's Muhisin Mutlak Rodhan, Ph.D., also known as Muhsin Al-Ramli. The President's Gardens was published to critical acclaim and was a finalist for the 2013 Booker prize for Arabic novels. Al-Ramli is also the author of Dates on My Fingers, Scattered Crumbs and The Wolf of Love and Books.

Muhsin Al-Ramli, Ph.D.

https://www.slu.edu/madrid/department-of-modern-languages-and-esl/faculty/muhisin-mutlak-rodhan

The President's Gardens by Iraqi writer Muhsin Al-Ramli

The President's Gardens by Iraqi writer Muhsin Al-Ramli. A man moves to Baghdad to become a gardener for the President. The gardens are beautiful, but they are fertilised by the corpses buried among the exotic trees and delicate waterfalls. Years later, after the fall of Iraq to the United States, the gardener’s severed head is found with eight others in banana crates next to the bus stop in his village. This is where The President’s Gardens, now skilfully translated into English by Luke Leafgren, begins and ends. Al-Ramli’s novel is a remarkable depiction of the atrocities the ordinary Iraqi has endured for the past half-century.  Pages 231 to 257 are a particular tour de force; I nearly wept. I am proud to bring you this as part of the Middle East In Translation package (link in bio) which has been made possible by the goodwill of my Arabic translator… 

The President’s Gardens / Prospect Magazine

The President’s Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli
What a new novel about three friends growing up in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq can tell us about human nature

Iraqi author Muhsin Al-Ramli’s brother was executed for planning a coup against Saddam. Yet the narrative here is driven neither by anger nor partisan hate

by Rachel Halliburton
July 20, 2017
Published in 
August 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
It is typical of the Rabelaisian impudence of this book that the reader does not encounter the title’s subject—the President’s gardens—until towards the end. This extraordinary portrait of three friends growing up in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq uses a range of storytelling traditions, infusing tragedy with comedy, the epic with the intimate, and the real with the surreal. From its arresting start—“In a land without bananas, the village awoke to nine banana crates, each containing the severed head of one of its sons”—the author evokes both despair and joy in lives perpetually branded by conflict. Part of its power derives from the knowledge that its stories are firmly rooted in history.
Iraqi author Muhsin Al-Ramli’s brother was executed for planning a coup against Saddam, and the book’s opening mirrors the fate that befell nine of his other relatives. Yet the narrative is driven neither by anger nor partisan hate. Through the story of the three friends—the long-suffering Ibrahim, Abdullah and Tariq—paints a portrait of modern Iraq that tips its hat both to the picaresque spark of Cervantes and the magical realism of García Márquez. (Al-Ramli has translated Don Quixote into Arabic.) By the time the book reaches the elaborate gardens where many of Saddam’s victims are buried, it has taken the reader through tragedy, imprisonment and war. Yet the overwhelming impression left is of the indefatigability of the human spirit. A tour de force. 

* Published in August 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine

*The President’s Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli, translated by Luke Leafgren (MacLehose Press, £12.99)

viernes, 28 de julio de 2017

The President’s Gardens / The BookEaters

The President’s Gardens
by Muhsin Al-Ramli

Gemma Thompson
I never get a book thinking that I’m going to give it anything less than a four Bite review. As much as I read I get excited about each blurb I read. The blurb on this book was no different, it promised to show me the interior lives and close friendships of a village in Iraq and how huge political acts on the world stage effect even the most unpolitical lives.
On the third day of Ramadan, the village wakes to find the severed heads of nine of its sons stacked in banana crates by the bus stop. One of them belonged to one of the most wanted men in Iraq, known to his friends as Ibrahim the Fated.
How did this good and humble man earn the enmity of so many? What did he do to deserve such a death?
The answer lies in his lifelong friendship with Abdullah Kafka and Tariq the Befuddled, who each have their own remarkable stories to tell. It lies on the scarred, irradiated battlefields of the Gulf War and in the ashes of a revolution strangled in its cradle. It lies in the steadfast love of his wife and the festering scorn of his daughter. And, above all, it lies behind the locked gates of The President’s Gardens, buried alongside the countless victims of a pitiless reign of terror.
But sadly this didn’t grip me at all and I ended up not finishing it – in fact I didn’t even get halfway through. I’ve lived in the middle-east, just next door to Iraq in fact so I thought I’d be introduced to rich, complex characters and family dynamics. And to be fair I could see the bones of this but there was no meet on any of it. The story also seemed like it could be interesting but the style of the telling of it let it down.Telling is the right word, the words tell you the story but they don’t invite you into it. It read to me more like a plan of a book or a rough draft.
It is translated from Arabic so it’s possible that some of the fault lies there but I’m hesitant to lay blame in one place, a book may only have the authors name on the cover but it’s usually a group affair so yes, maybe the editor and translator didn’t take good enough care of it but the author is where the buck stops.
If you’ve a short to be read pile and a long train or plane journey it might be worth a punt.