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Frankenstein in Baghdad
Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel | Ahmed Saadawi
A prizewinning novel of literary horror from war-torn Iraq—and the debut in English of “Baghdad’s new literary star” (The New York Times) From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi—a scavenger and an oddball fixture at the local café—collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of horrendous-looking criminals who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive—first from the guilty, and then from anyone in its path. An extraordinary achievement, at once horrific and blackly humorous, Frankenstein in Baghdad captures the surreal reality of contemporary Baghdad. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Shvonne
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Birthday splurge part one. Between an Amazon gift card and Mom coming to visit I got all the birthday books. Part two will arrive Friday

TobeyTheScavengerMonk I got Frankenstein in Baghdad for my birthday too! 2mo
Shvonne @TobeyTheScavengerMonk awesome! Have you read it yet? 2mo
TobeyTheScavengerMonk Nope! But it recently made the shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke award for best science fiction novel of 2018! 2mo
17 likes3 comments
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Smrloomis
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Kindle sale for 2.99 USD. #Arabicliterature #translatedliterature I loved this but just be aware - it‘s NOT a retelling of Shelley‘s Frankenstein. Not at all.

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Caksf
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Pickpick

Hmmmm.. I sort of liked this book. I loved the allegorical aspect of the plot, but thought that 1. The writing was extremely awkward in spots OR 2. The translation was atrocious. I‘m assuming the clever allegory is what earned this a man booker nom, otherwise, I don‘t get it. This is chock full of great discussion points- criminal vs innocent, violence vs peace, fair vs unfair... think “Exit West” with way more gray area. 3.5/5

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TracyReadsBooks
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Pickpick

Fascinating & powerful retelling of Frankenstein which has it all—“Monster” born of its creator‘s ambitions who cannot be controlled as it tries to find justice & to keep himself alive. The chaos & sheer challenge of living in an occupied city where religious & ethnic factions engage in a cycle of violence so it‘s hard to distinguish good/bad, right/wrong. Interesting, eccentric & intriguing characters populating modern Baghdad. Really good read.

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TracyReadsBooks
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My grab-and-go book today is a modern retelling of Frankenstein set in U.S. occupied Baghdad. Interesting (& familiar) premise—a man collects body parts and stitches them together creating a corpse which then goes missing. Shortly after, there is a series of murders across the city. Intense stuff. It‘s well written and the translator did a good job. I‘m a few chapters in and really enjoying it.

DGRachel I started this last year or the year before and got distracted by other books. I really do need to get back to it (and start over, of course). 🤦🏻‍♀️ 6mo
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MDodge
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Pickpick

Well I think I read my last book of 2018 (although I suppose there‘s still time...). I didn‘t do a great job posting or reviewing this year, but I did do a decent job tracking! Pretty happy with my results overall... excuse the shaky pic of my spreadsheet :/. #2018reads

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TracyReadsBooks
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Great time out with @ElishaLovesBooks last night. BBQ and books to celebrate her birthday. Of course, I wasn‘t smart enough to get a picture of both of us but I did get one of her and my new books. (Her stack was even more impressive!!!) Love the sale shelves at Unabridged Books!

AmyG Happy Birthday!🎉🎂🎈 @ElishaLovesBooks 8mo
ElishaLovesBooks @AmyG Thank you!!! 8mo
ElishaLovesBooks @TracyReadsBooks I love this so much ♥️♥️♥️ 8mo
18 likes3 comments
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thegreentealibrarian
Mehso-so

It was interesting but it didn't wow me.
Although it did remind me of Exit West because this was illustrating the contemporary situation in Baghdad with a supernatural twist.

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thegreentealibrarian
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BookishTrish
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Mehso-so

I found this book dark and disturbing. Sometimes funny other times boring. Something about the writing held me at a distance and I think I wanted a more visceral experience. I‘d love to know what others thought of it. Plenty to unpack. #screamsbymail

merelybookish I bailed on this one. 10mo
JPeterson I had the same thoughts when reading. I wished I could have loved it, but some parts just dragged on and made me not care anymore. 🤷‍♀️ 10mo
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bernadette
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Pickpick

I enjoyed large sections of it but I feel I missed a lot of what the author was trying to say. It‘s fascinating and sad, a little creepy and terrifying, a portrait of Baghdad and the chaos of daily car bombs and violence and the breakdown of daily life, community ties, and government. I wouldn‘t recommend it as a retelling of Shelley‘s novel but perhaps as a disturbing glimpse of what Baghdad is like. Need to think about this one more.

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BookishTrish
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#screamsbymail folk, I‘m just over halfway through this surreal work of literary fiction and there‘s horror in it, but it‘s definitely heavier on the literary surrealism. Do you still want me to pick it for round two or shall I go with Universal Harvester instead?

GatheringBooks am fine with anything. this sounds good to me as well. 🧚🏼‍♀️😍📚 10mo
scripturient I‘m fine with both titles. :) 10mo
danibolahood I'm good with both options as well 10mo
Reggie Whichever you think is best. 10mo
ephemeralwaltz I'm fine with both! 10mo
59 likes5 comments
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bernadette
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Just started but fascinating and creepy so far.

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GhostStories
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Mehso-so

There is a lot I liked about this book: the gothic imagery in the beginning, the surreal everyday reality of living in a city that is being blown apart and put together continually, but ultimately I didn‘t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. The sprawling cast of characters diminishes the intensity of the initial intrigue, and the heavy metaphors detract from the “white-knuckle horror” they advertise the book having.

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BookishTrish
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How we roll

CouronneDhiver Well done! 👍🏽 Love this 11mo
Bklover ❤️❤️ 11mo
Cinfhen Fabulous!!!!! 11mo
See All 11 Comments
Rachbb3 👍🏼👍🏼 11mo
TrishB Love it 💕 11mo
merelybookish Cool! 11mo
EricaReads Life goals ❤️ 11mo
Reggie Lol, this is awesome. 11mo
Simona 😍😍😍😍 11mo
youneverarrived Love it! 11mo
Bookzombie This is so awesome!!! 11mo
93 likes11 comments
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BookishTrish
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Switching between two reads as I lounge in the sun #vacayallday

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JPeterson
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My night stand holds my over flowing collection of bookmarks, chapstick (Shakespeare theme, of course), the stack of books I‘m currently reading + my tablet (which is exclusively used for ebooks) and a few friends to keep watch. 🐙🦖

#24in48 #Hour18ReadingChallenge #NightstandChallenge

Clare-Dragonfly You must not have a cat! Chapstick on the nightstand sounds like a recipe for no longer having chapstick! 12mo
JPeterson @Clare-Dragonfly Haha, I actually do! She just isn‘t allowed in the bedroom, unless supervised 😹 12mo
91 likes2 comments
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RidgewayGirl
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Pickpick

A lonely old woman waiting for her son to return from a war that ended twenty years earlier, a secondhand furniture dealer upset at the death of a friend to a car bomb, a young journalist trying to find his footing in a complex and dangerous world, as well as politicians, businessmen and magicians populate this fascinating story of a patchwork corpse reanimated.

I liked this inventive and bleak tale set in Baghdad under American occupation a lot.

BarbaraBB Okay. Stacked. Sounds really intriguing. And I love books set in the Middle East. 12mo
luvamystery65 I thought it was wonderfully written. 12mo
24 likes2 comments
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JPeterson
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New book I picked up at one of my favorite bookstores last night. Super excited to finally get my hands in this! 😄

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LeePeckover
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Only just started this but loving it so far. Doggo less impressed, prefers books about squirrels.

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The.Intentional.Reader
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Modern day Frankenstein story set in the Middle East. Sounds interesting! About to drive in to this

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kathytrithardt
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Too many characters and an unsteady timeline. This just wasn't for me.

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BookwormM
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Pickpick

#MBI2018Shortlist #readingaroundtheworld #Iraq

Once I got used to the narrative style I found myself hooked by the story of the Whatsitsname and the residents of Baghdad who are impacted by him.

I loved the diverse characters showcasing how multicultural Baghdad really is.

The idea of a “monster” made of victims of terrorist and other attack‘s seeking justice was well done and I found the ending fitting.

4⭐️

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Briguy73
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Mehso-so

Not as gripping as I‘d hoped for.I am about halfway through and not impressed.I pray it gets better.

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dperipatetic
Pickpick

Gripping caricature of a war-torn country and its inhabitants!

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Moray_Reads
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Mehso-so

This is such a powerful idea and the uncertainty, fear and corruption rife in Iraqi society during the war comes through strongly. Unfortunately the writing feels merely workmanlike and mostly failed to evoke any strong reactions. I wonder if the problem is with the translation?

bnp It's possible. I couldn't my library copy read in three weeks, so I haven't finished it. 1y
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Eyejaybee
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Mehso-so

This didn‘t quite work for me. The idea seemed very good, but it was just rather more ponderous than it should have been. Read my Goodreads review at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36657860-frankenstein-in-baghdad. #frankensteininbaghdad #ahmedsaadawi #arabicliterature #contemporaryliterature #manbookerinternationalprize

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andrew61
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Pickpick

My second bk from the int bkr prize was a great read. Set in the streets of Baghdad where suicide bombers are routine a curious pair of characters, a tall tale teller and an old woman inadvertently create a modern monster who reeks havoc and destruction - a brilliant remagining that mirrors the plight and horrors visited upon the city and its colourful and lovingly drawn characters.
I took this photo in my library today - grim but fitting.

charl08 Great book! Hope more of his work gets translated. 1y
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GhostStories
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Doing our reading for tonight! Got the book late so reading 20 pages a day to finish it in time. Mixed feelings about it so far.

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fleeting
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This is taking me a long while to read. It seemed very promising but it got real slow right away and the metaphor wasn't used well. :( Also, zombie rubber ducky seemed a perfect fit. 😂

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fleeting
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Wise words

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Redheadrambles
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Pickpick

* 3.5 *

It is refreshing to read a book set in Iraq by an Iraqi author. Saadawi's writing conveyed a true feeling of love for his city and it's inhabitants and a mourning for what had happened to it.
I enjoyed this novel best when it was tightly focused on the 'Whatshisname', in these sections it is superb, and a mediation on the cycle of violence, fear, mistrust and revenge. However, I thought it lost its way lost towards the end.

Redheadrambles #indiebuddyreads for April 😀 and another insightful discussion (edited) 1y
ClairesReads Great review mate! Another great discussion for the crew 1y
Neale Great review and a riveting discussion. 😊 1y
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Redwritinghood
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Pickpick

#indiebuddyreads Just finished this up, and I‘m glad I read it. It is a clever book using the concept of the Frankenstein monster to illustrate a never-ending cycle of revenge. Another theme in the book I liked was the idea of multiple types of justice being meted out for everyone - kind of like karma. I would have liked to see more of the monster in the book and was a little let down by the ending, but overall it was an interesting read.

mklong Awesome review! I would have liked seeing more of the monster too. I was intrigued by his followers and the way they all supported his mission, but for different reasons, and ended up tearing each other apart, even though they started on the same side 1y
Redheadrambles @Redwritinghood yes more monster I say ! Great to have you along once again - I got so much out of the discussion of this one. 1y
Neale @Redwritinghood Nice point about the Karma angle, everybody 1y
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Neale @Redwritinghood I keep hitting send accidentally.I have done it so many times. :) I was going to say everybody seemed to miss the different types of justice. Nice one. :) 1y
AceOnRoam I was surprised that there were limited monster scenes also! Great review! 1y
Redwritinghood @mklong Thanks. I thought the followers may have been like the disciples, but I‘m not sure that made sense in the story. 1y
Redwritinghood @AceOnRoam Thanks! Definitely needed more monster. 1y
Redwritinghood @Neale Thanks. It did seem like a lot of the characters in the book got what they deserved by some means or another. 1y
Redwritinghood @Redheadrambles There is a lot to pick apart with this one for sure. 1y
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mklong
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Pickpick

This one started slowly and I was initially confused by the large cast of characters, but in the end it came together. It isn‘t perfect, but what Saadawi gets right makes it worth the read. I was mostly drawn to the idea of the endless cycle of revenge and uncertainty that the monster represents.

Thanks for welcoming me to the #indiebuddyread ladies! I enjoyed reading this with all of you 😘

AceOnRoam Great review! It started really much stronger than it finished I felt. 1y
mklong @AceOnRoam Thanks! Strangely I liked the middle of the book the best. That was when I had the characters straight and the symbolism of the monster started making sense. Like it found its footing, then fizzled out again 1y
ClairesReads Awesome review- I think we felt exactly the same way about this- certainly flawed but on balance a great read! Thanks for joining us 😊 1y
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Redwritinghood Just finished this and felt the same about the ebb and flow of the narrative. 1y
Redheadrambles @mklong great review ! I think I fall somewhere in the camp of the first 3/4 were strong and then I lost it. But yes, still an intriguing read. Loved having you along and hope you can join for more reads ! 1y
mklong @Redheadrambles Thanks! I‘m looking forward to yours! And yes, I would love to join ya‘ll for more 😀 1y
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Frankenstein in Baghdad is a very clever, engaging and challenging novel. It‘s not an easy read on many levels.
The central motif “Whatsitsname” is very clever. Much more than a character- he is a representation of the many and disparate fears and fantasies of revenge held by so many different people, in a world consumed by war. In terms of execution, although clever, I found this novel a little uneven in its execution. A rewarding read.

Redheadrambles Oh wow your done and reviewed an all ! There is a lot to think about ... 1y
Christine11 I‘ve been wanting to read this one for ages! It sounds really interesting! 😊 1y
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AceOnRoam Great review @ClairesReads 1y
Redwritinghood Nice review. I‘ll finish this later today. 1y
mklong Excellent review! And photo too! 1y
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles absolutely- my review on GR was definitely not my best work...I‘ll be mulling on this one for days to come! 1y
ClairesReads @Christine11 it‘s not perfect but I do recommend it. There is lots to think about and it‘s a really interesting premise 1y
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ClairesReads
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Can‘t stop, won‘t stop quote spamming this. It‘s all coming together #indiebuddyread

Redheadrambles Yes ! Just saw this quote from you I think you have pulled out all the things that struck me too. This makes it easy to me to mark my book up for discussion;) 1y
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ClairesReads
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I kind of feel like this is the point of the novel- Whatsitsname is like a metaphor for the conflict in Iraq here...fellow #indiebuddyread mates, what do you think?

Redheadrambles @ClairesReads yes ! This part you pulled out was one I read over a few times and really seemed to be the takeaway message from this novel. This kind of morphing of killing for revenge of “innocents” into killing for reasons that are no longing well defined. Leading to situations where no one is really “innocent” anymore. I love how he is using TheWhatshisname as a sort of mash up of people‘s fears and revenge fantasies. 1y
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles woo glad I‘m not just off on my own buzz over here! Definitely seems like the takeaway for me too 👌🏻 1y
AceOnRoam I think you are on the money Claire, senseless killing where nobody is winning 😢 1y
Redwritinghood I think that‘s a good point, but I‘m not sure there was a well-defined idea of right and wrong in that war to start with. 1y
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Redheadrambles
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Approaching the end of this one and this quote seemed to go right to the heart of the novel.
Finding this a slightly uneven read but certainly thought provoking

#indiebuddyreads #bookerinternational2018

ClairesReads Amazing quote! 1y
Redwritinghood I think you‘re right that this is the crux of the novel. It also dovetails with the original Frankenstein story about how our preconceived notions about others color our ability to see the truth. 1y
Redheadrambles @Redwritinghood yeah this quote just seemed perfect to my interpretation of TheWhatshisname. I need to read Frankenstein at some point ... 1y
Neale @Redheadrambles I think this is my favourite quote. :) 1y
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Simona
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This unusual story is built on many themes, but the main one is vicious circle of #revenge

#quotsyapril18

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ClairesReads
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mrozzz Wow lovely quote! 1y
Neale Great quote, sadly so true. 1y
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ClairesReads
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This book is 🔥#indiebuddyread

Neale I told you! ;) 1y
ClairesReads @Neale it‘s quite great! 1y
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ClairesReads
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Well that‘s insightful. #indiebuddyread

Redheadrambles @ClairesReads yes that little passage was interesting, there is quite a lot of insight into fundamentalism and belief buried in this text . 1y
ClairesReads @Redheadrambles yes this was quite an “ideas” section of the novel I thought...really interesting... 1y
34 likes2 comments
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Redheadrambles
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I read this book for ages having no idea what a mashrabiya balcony was and why everyone was so excited by them and so now I know !
Love the things you learn about when reading about other countries.

#indiebuddyreads #manbookerinternational2018

ClairesReads So beautiful hey? 1y
Neale I looke them up 1y
Neale I looked them up as well. Very nice. 1y
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Eyejaybee
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Sophoclessweetheart I really need to read this one! 1y
Eyejaybee I just started it this morning, feeling unsure of what it would be like, but am now a quarter of the way through it, and completely hooked. 1y
Redheadrambles It‘s really interesting indeed. I am reading it at the moment as well #indiebuddyread 1y
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Emilymdxn
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this book! I liked it more than Flights which was the only other #manbookerinternational2018 book I‘ve read so far. The writing and the translation were both amazing and I adored the concept and all the characters. Maybe if I‘m honest I didn‘t follow the plot as well towards the end as at the beginning, so not completely perfect, but I loved it. And that‘s an Iraqi book (my first ever!) for #litworld2018gb #readaroundtheworld

GatheringBooks woohoo! perfect pick! glad that you have joined our literary voyage!! :) 1y
Sophoclessweetheart Oh! So glad to hear this is good! 1y
Simona Well, we agree on this one! It‘s better than Flights 😘 1y
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Redheadrambles
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This book does this to me all the time - takes you right up to a reveal and then diverts away from it for pages and pages !

What‘s in the dark hole !!!

 @ClairesReads @Neale @Redwritinghood @AceOnRoam @mklong
#manbookerinternational2018 #indiebuddyreads

Neale Oh that‘s one of my favourite parts. :) 1y
Neale Oh that‘s one of my favourite parts. :) 1y
AceOnRoam I'm not there yet! Yes, this author loves to keep you waiting. What chapter are you up to now? 1y
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Redheadrambles @AceOnRoam just made it to Chapt 9 and now a lot more things are explained well some things ! I have accepted it‘s not all going to make sense until the end 1y
AceOnRoam Ok I'm just about there too... 1y
ClairesReads Still on chapter 5- but excited to catch up! 1y
AceOnRoam So many characters in such a small book 😐 1y
Redheadrambles @AceOnRoam yeah I was struggling with that until about this point where it is starting to feel more comfortable 1y
Redwritinghood Intriguing! I‘m just starting chapter 7. It‘s a little late here, but I‘m hoping to make a little more progress tonight. 1y
mklong @AceOnRoam I thought the same thing, but I‘m finally starting to get them straight. Still not sure all these people are necessary though 🤔 1y
Neale #AceOnRoam #Redheadrambles #ClaireReads Might be a bit late now but second time through I made a list of characters and was amazed at the difference it made. :) 1y
Redheadrambles @Neale I found the character list quite helpful ( also I think you have you might need to replace # with @AceOnRoam @ClairesReads 😀 to get their attention! ). 1y
Neale Oh yeah, hehe thanks. :) 1y
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ClairesReads
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mrozzz 💜 1y
34 likes1 comment
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Neale
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ClairesReads Awesome quote! 1y
Neale Yep, it reminded me of our family chess set and how as a little boy the knights looked quite terrifying so I had to take a shot with the quote. 1y
Redheadrambles @Neale ah I just got to this quote in the book - it so good 1y
Neale It is good isn‘t it. :) 1y
5 likes4 comments
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ClairesReads
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It‘s #indiebuddyread power month and we‘re straight onto the next one. So excited to be starting this!

Smrloomis I‘d love to hear what you think! 👍🏽 1y
charl08 Suxh a great read! 1y
Joanne1 What a title. 1y
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ClairesReads @Joanne1 it is isn‘t it? 1y
ClairesReads @Smrloomis I‘ll be sure to post my review when I‘m finished 1y
ClairesReads @charl08 glad you liked it, I‘m enjoying it so far 1y
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Redheadrambles
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It‘s the #indiebuddyreads power month as @ClairesReads has called it where we have squeezed in two books this month. I still can‘t recall my logic as to why they were consecutive weekends however here we go again with discussion on here and in the GR group. This time it is this Booker International nominee which promises to be very interesting!
@ClairesReads @AceOnRoam @Redwritinghood @mklong all others who have read it or want to join in

ClairesReads Yes yes- power month it is! Picking up my copy tomorrow and powering through my current read so I can start it ASAP. Have I mentioned how great our book club is??😜👌🏻 1y
charl08 Great read. 1y
mklong I‘m excited too! Starting today ☺️ 1y
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Redheadrambles @mklong great ! Feel free to add little notes in here about how you are finding it. I plan to start first thing tomorrow- it‘s late in NZ now ;) 1y
Redheadrambles @ClairesReads it is going better than I had envisioned ! I am scrambling to get my Read Harder essays done and reviewed 1y
AceOnRoam Yay! @mklong great you are joining too 😁 1y
AceOnRoam This will be the first of my #MBI2018 reads, I know @batsy might be reading a few and @Simona may have read them all by now! 1y
Redwritinghood I‘m starting this one today. Hope I can finish by the weekend. 🤞🏻🤞🏻 1y
batsy @AceOnRoam That was the plan, but it didn't go very well 🙈 Current tally of #MBI2018 reads: 0 😂 1y
AceOnRoam @batsy lol, hilarious. Me, 0.3 of my first book so far. Why don't you join us? 1y
batsy @AceOnRoam I just started a new book last night but I'm so keen to read this, so will try 😊 1y
AceOnRoam @batsy 😊😊 1y
AceOnRoam @Redheadrambles I think we squeezed this in because the Women's Prize shortlist is released next week. So many books!!!!!! 1y
Simona @AceOnRoam Yes, I have read them all by now, except The World Goes On. I made it to the half, and gave up 😏 1y
Redheadrambles @AceOnRoam ah yes your right Woman‘s Prize shortlist next week - I really haven‘t progressed very far reading hardly any from that list so far. 1y
ClairesReads @AceOnRoam @Redheadrambles that‘s right! We have this one lined up for a couple of weeks time too right? 1y
Redheadrambles @ClairesReads yes we do - I have it here and think I will just get it read before it is due back 1y
Neale It‘s even better the second time. Picking up things I missed first time through. :) 1y
Redheadrambles Neale !!!!!!!! Awwww 👍🏻 welcome 1y
Neale Thanks heaps Trudie, don,t know how often I can get on (it‘s not my iPad but I will try, it‘s Fun!). :) 1y
AceOnRoam @Neale you'll be rushing to JBHIFI to buy your own iPad by the end of the week 😂😂😂 it's a slightly addictive app. 1y
Neale Yep I‘m starting to feel addicted even now. 1y
Redheadrambles @neale yeah it‘s amazing how long set tasks can take when you keep sneaking online to ones various online hotspots to talk about books 📚 1y
Neale For me, there is nothing like talking about books. Especially with fun, intelligent, well read readers. Surely I can find some on here! Hahaha, only gagging you guys are fantastic. :) 1y
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