Author(s): Muhsin Al-Ramli
One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Kite-Runner in Saddam Hussein's Iraq "A contemporary tragedy of epic proportions. No author is better placed than Muhsin Al-Ramli, already a star in the Arabic literary scene, to tell this story. I read it in one sitting" Hassan Blasim, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Iraqi Christ On the third day of Ramadan, the village wakes to find the severed heads of nine of its sons stacked in banana crates by the bus stop. One of them belonged to one of the most wanted men in Iraq, known to his friends as Ibrahim the Fated. How did this good and humble man earn the enmity of so many? What did he do to deserve such a death? The answer lies in his lifelong friendship with Abdullah Kafka and Tariq the Befuddled, who each have their own remarkable stories to tell. It lies on the scarred, irradiated battlefields of the Gulf War and in the ashes of a revolution strangled in its cradle. It lies in the steadfast love of his wife and the festering scorn of his daughter. And, above all, it lies behind the locked gates of The President's Gardens, buried alongside the countless victims of a pitiless reign of terror.
Set in Iraq, The President’s Gardens is a timely and well-written story based on fact. Ibrahim the Fated was one of the most wanted men in Iraq, and one day, his head and nine others were found at a bus stop. What happened? Al-Ramli weaves an intriguing web of Ibrahim’s story, along with his friends, Abdullah Kafka and Tariq the Befuddled. At the heart of the story, is its connection to the secrets lying behind the locked gates of the President’s gardens. I felt like I was a fly on the wall looking at the true nature of a foreign culture. Highly recommend.
Paul, The Book Grocer
An epic novel about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, following the story of three friends in a haunting and powerful novel on the impact of war on a nation and its individuals. -
Kelsey, The Book Grocer
Deeply painful and satirical, The President's Gardens is a contemporary tragedy of epic proportions. No author is better placed than Muhsin Al-Ramli, already a star in the Arabic literary scene, to tell this story. I read it in one sitting. -- Hassan Blasim, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize One of the most important contemporary Iraqi novelists and writers. El Mundo. A novel filled with details ... with passion, homeland, revolution, and grief. It represents a landmark in the progression of Iraqi literature. -- Miral Al-Tahawi. How do you preserve dignity amidst the relentless carnage and mutilation of modern Iraq? Told with a fresh transparency and tender insight, The President's Gardens draws on the unfathomable resilience of the Iraqi people, leaving me speechless and humbled. -- Paul McAlindin, author of Upbeat: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq.
Muhsin Al-Ramli is an Iraqi writer, poet, academic and translator, born in the village of Sudara in northern Iraq in 1967. He has lived in Madrid since 1995. The President's Gardens was longlisted for the IPAF, known as the "Arabic Booker", in 2013.