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I Stared at the Night of the City - by Bakhtiyar Ali (Paperback)

About this item


Number of Pages: 422

Genre: Fiction + Literature Genres

Sub-Genre: Cultural Heritage

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Periscope

Age Range: Adult

Author: Bakhtiyar Ali

Language: English

TCIN: 79513851
UPC: 9781859641255
Item Number (DPCI): 247-29-6147


Iraqi Kurdistan at the turn of the twenty-first century is a territory ruled by strongmen, revolutionaries, fixers, bureaucrats and the "Barons," who control everything from livestock and land to Kurdish cultural life. Defying the absolute power wielded by the Barons, a band of friends led by a poet embarks on an odyssey to find the bodies of two lovers killed unjustly by the authorities. The Barons respond by attempting to crush these would-be avengers, though their real war is waged against the imagination itself - despite the fact that imagination in its myriad forms is a prized, elusive commodity for which intellectuals, merchants, political elites and humble workers all search in one way or another. The stark realities of a rapidly changing yet still traumatised society are woven through with elements of the fantastic: a boy is born with a poem etched into his chest; a wild-eyed mystic consummates his love for a married woman in the spirit world; a political assassin discovers compassion and can no longer kill; a Hollywood film buff leads a cluster of blind children on an imaginary sea journey.Bakhtiyar Ali's visionary novel is a soulful meditation on both political and poetic power. The Gardens of the Imagination is a trip, in more ways than one: a tale of people travelling great distances in their minds or with their feet. It is a phantasmagoric, lyrical interpretation of contemporary Kurdistan, so much in the news nowadays but otherwise so little known. Told by several unreliable narrators in a kaleidoscope of fragments that all eventually cohere, the author manages the neat trick of dipping the reader into a mesmerising fantasia just long enough before wrenching her or him back to hard, cold "real life." Bakhtiyar Ali has said that he wrote this novel
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