Misadventure in the Middle East : Travels as Tramp, Artist and Spy Paperback
When Henry Hemming set out in a pick-up truck called Yasmine to make a portrait of the Middle East, he had no idea what he would find or where he would be able to go - he wasn't even sure how he would earn enough money to stay on the road for a year.
Henry Hemming's extraordinary journey takes him from the drug-fuelled ski-slopes of Iran via some of the region's secret beaches, palaces, army barracks, police cells, nightclubs, torture chambers, brothels and artists' studios to a Fourth of July party with American GIs in one of Saddam's former palaces.
Everywhere he goes his status as artist gets him into places he would not have been allowed otherwise.
As the invasion of Iraq intensifies, he realises that to finish his portrait of the region he must go to Baghdad and find the artistic renaissance there that he has heard about.
In so doing he will risk his life. Throughout, he meets young people who share their dreams, doubts and passions, revealing a young and unpredictable Middle East that flies beneath the radar of nightly news bulletins. In these meetings, he also begins to understand what he himself represents, be it British spy, Muslim extremist, jihadi, tramp, bohemian, street-cleaner, Baghdadi, or, from time to time, artist.
Misadventure in the Middle East offers a unique, evocative and highly original account of his journey.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages, 1 map
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
- Publication Date: 01/03/2007
- Category: Travel writing
- ISBN: 9781857883954
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Review by skambalu
Informative reporting of Hemming's journey across the Middle East to find out what "Middle Eastern" art is and to be inspired to make his own art that sums up his experience of Middle Eastern art. He discovers that the countries that make up the Middle East are vastly different - there is no one uniform experience. In his travels, with Al Braithwaite and their car, Yasmine, Hemmings also finds out more about the cultural and political climate, all at the time of the Second Iraq War. I found this book insightful and enjoyable.