An Iraqi family tries to survive both a dictator and a war
Set in an Iraqi village during the Iran-Iraq war, Scattered Crumbs critiques a totalitarian dictatorship through the stories of an impoverished peasant family. A father, a fierce supporter of Saddam Husseinhere called only The Leaderclashes with his artist son, who loves his homeland but finds himself literally unable to paint the Leader's portrait for his father's wall. The narrator remembers the disintegration of his family as he leaves the village to search for his cousin, even as he realizes that the only thing he really knows of this cousin is his absence. Translator Hanoosh says that the novel evokes the processes of deterioration undergone both by the country and by the individual characters caught up in the maelstrom. Scattered Crumbs was first published in Arabic in Cairo in 2000. This translation captures the subtle sarcasm of the original text and its elliptical rhythms.
A very fine satiric novel and an excellent translation.
Marilyn Booth, translator of
Iraqi novelist Muhsin al-Ramli lives in Madrid, Spain,
where he is the