From Publishers Weekly
A London-educated Iraqi woman, al-Radi, recounts 10 years in her life, covering the Persian Gulf War in 1991, then the Western embargo on Iraq and finally the years she entitles "exile," which she spent primarily in Lebanon, occasionally visiting the United States. Al-Radi, an artist by training, writes powerful but not ostentatious prose, with abrupt, fragmented and simple sentences as she interweaves the violent, chaotic effects of war with everyday incidents. One may feel the urge to skim the detailing of run-of-the-mill events regarding, say, al-Radi's dog and his adventures. And the artistry and authenticity of al-Radi's voice will be marred for some by her ardent anti-Israel and anti-American sentiments. The author rightly addresses the devastation of war, the inevitable violence wrought on innocent civilians. But she does not address the context in which the Gulf War and the embargo took place. Mention of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and ruthlessness toward his own people is reduced to a bare minimum. Al-Radi singles out Israel for criticism of its policies regarding Lebanon and the Palestinians, at one point comparing Israeli policies to Nazi tactics. There is no question that war is brutal, and al-Radi touchingly portrays the Iraqi plight, but in her eagerness to cast blame, she loses sight of the bigger picture.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“I searched for recent books about Iraq that described it as a real country. I found only one, the excellent Baghdad Diaries
.” —Edward Said
“I hope many people will read this book and note the futility of war and perhaps do something about it; all my life I have cherished this hope in vain, but we must not stop.” —Mary Wesley, author of Harnessing Peacocks
and A Sensible Life
“Something of what sanctions mean for ordinary Iraqis. . .records the day-to-day struggle for survival.” —Times Literary Supplement
“Insouciant, charming and witty, with much black humour. Al-Radi writes poignantly.” —The Independent