BG 1 - Book Review - August 26th 2022
The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi
The Baghdad Clock, a story between real and imaginary, is written by Iraqi author Shahad Al Rawi with magic realism as her writing style. The book has been originally written in Arabic, published in 2016 and has been translated into English by Luke Leafgren for Oneworld publications in 2018.
As a war narrative enveloped in magic, love, friendship and hope; The Baghdad Clock adds
depth to the burgeoning genre of postcolonial Iraqi novels. A young unnamed narrator and
her best friend Nadia meet in their early childhood in an air-raid shelter during the first Gulf
war. As a decade passes by and history unfolds, the narrator narrates stories of their
friendship, the loves in their lives, besides weaving in other family members, friends and
community members as some of the characters. Shawkat uncle and the adorable dog
named Biryad being the ones that stood out the most. Others however didn’t endear us, the
frequent mention of cultural norms being one. Though the most distracting for me was the
repeated mention of the fortune teller's character.