IRAQ: The Madman of Freedom Square by Hassan Blasim. From hostage-video makers in Baghdad to human trafficking in the forests of Serbia, institutionalised paranoia in the Saddam years to the nightmares of an exile trying to embrace a new life in Amsterdam ... Blasim's stories present an uncompromising view of the West's relationship with Iraq, spanning over twenty years and taking in everything from the Iran-Iraq War through to the Occupation.
AFGHANISTAN: The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi. In Persian folklore, Syngue Sabour is the name of a magical black stone, a patience stone, which absorbs the plight of those who confide in it. It is believed that the day it explodes, after having received too much hardship and pain, will be the day of the Apocalypse. But here, the Syngue Sabour is not a stone but rather a man lying brain-dead with a bullet lodged in his neck. His wife is with him, sitting by his side.
SENEGAL: So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba. This is a beautiful new edition of a timeless classic of African literature. Ba brings the issue of polygamy into sharp, almost familiar focus for readers who might think it bizarre and safely foreign. I am pleased to see this treasure back in print." Catherine E. Bolten, University of Notre Dame"I used this novel in my African literature course and it was great. The students researched Senegal and the discussions were lively, enthusiastic, and…
Reviewed by Seana Graham: Having already been deemed a classic of Arabic literature, Season of Migration to the North was chosen by a panel of Arabic writers and critics in 2001 as the most important Arab novel of the 20th century.