The Long Way Back

Fuad al-Takarli
Translated byCatherine Cobham

The Long Way Back tells the story of four generations of the same family living in an old house in the Bab al-Shaykh area of Baghdad. Through exquisit

English edition
7 October 2007
392 pp.
12.5X20cm
ISBN 9789774160929
For sale worldwide

$16.95

The Long Way Back tells the story of four generations of the same family living in an old house in the Bab al-Shaykh area of Baghdad. Through exquisite layering of the overlapping worlds of the characters, their private conflicts and passions are set against the wider drama of events leading up to the overthrow of prime minister Abd al-Karim Qasim and the initial steps to power of the Baath party in Iraq in 1962-63. The skilful building-up of the characters and their worlds within a brief and clearly determined period of recent history allows for a bold and intelligent portrayal of the ambiguous strengths and weaknesses of Iraqi and wider Arab culture. In addition, the dramatization of the relationships between generations, social groups, and genders is achieved with a mixture of humor, bitter irony, and compassion that identifies it as a great work of Arabic literature.

Fuad al-Takarli

Fuad al-Takarli was born in Baghdad and graduated in law from Baghdad University in 1949. He worked in the Ministry of Justice, was made a judge in 1956, and rose to be head of the Court of Appeal in Baghdad. In 1983 he resigned from this post to devote himself to writing. He studied law in Paris from 1964 to 1966 and lived briefly in Paris again during the 1980s. Since 1990 he has lived in Tunis. In 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Owais Prize for the Arabic Novel. Catherine Cobham teaches Arabic at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and has translated a number of contemporary Arab writers, including Yusuf Idris, Naguib Mahfouz, and Hanan al-Shaykh.
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