Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Limited, 2003
Package Dimensions: 16.5 x 17.6 x 1.7 cm
Released from Baghdad’s notorious Abu Gharib prison to celebrate the Great Leader’s victory – though no one is quite sure which victory it was – Muhammad Zabib must find a job. Discovering that marriage to a war widow means a government grant and a Chevrolet, Muhammad marries four widows, as good Muslims may, and starts a successful minicab business. But four wives bring more sorrow than joy and Muhammad must start to look elsewhere to maintain his good fortune. So begins this rollicking, picaresque tale of ordinary people attempting to make the best of their lives in the appallingly un-ordinary milieu of Saddam’s Iraq. Like Hasek’s Svejk or Voltaire’s Candide, Khalid Kishtainy has crafted the archetypal little man caught up in the horror and idiocy of war, but ever determined to battle through it. The satire may seem extreme; at one point our hero even invents a portable mosque. But the reader never loses sight of an essential humanity and compassion which informs this remarkably funny novel.