One morning Mustafa Ali Noman, a teacher in Baghdad, is arrested as he reaches the school gates.
For the next 15 months he is brutally interrogated, shuttles from prison to prison and barred from contacting his family.
The question of guilt or innocence clearly irrelevant, Mustafa must fight to retain a grip on reality. 'How do I know that I am not dreaming this?' he asks.
Mahmoud Saeed's devastating novel evokes the works of Kafka, Solzhenitsyn and Elie Wiesel in its account of the wanton and brutal treatment of the Iraqi people by Saddam Hussein's feared secret police.
Narrated in a straightforward manner that makes it all the more vivid,the story testifies to the brutal arbitrariness of life under tyranny.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 130 pages
- Publisher: Saqi Books
- Publication Date: 17/04/2004
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780863563508
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Review by eness
Excellent. I also read Mahmoud Saeed's original book in Arabic from which this translation has come from, and it's even better. The translation does NOT do it justice, but the reader can still see the quality of Saeed's writing, as the reader can all but feel his experience he gained in Saddam's prisons. Keep an eye out for a new translation in the future, which could be under the actual translation of the title in Arabic, "I Am the One Who Saw", which also I hope would contain the entire section left out by Saddam City.