MBI 2018 | Frankenstein In Baghdad

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Hi! I’m Matthew. Here’s a video of not only my face, but my face talking about books!

Frankenstein In Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi; translated by Jonathan Wright

For Inquiries: “matthewsciarappabooks@gmail.com”
IG: @mattsciarappa
TW: @MSSciarappa


Etana E says:

It's interesting when you speak about it. Maybe it is better in english, but believe me as an arabic reader and iraqi reader. I rate it 5 out of 10. The language was really weak as if it was witten by a kid. The slang accent just ruined the whole book. I think i would say hats off for the translator rather than the author.

TheSarahSA says:

I do understand how weird the “fart noise scene” would seem to someone from outside Iraq… and I can only imagine how weird it sounded in English 😂 This is why I felt the need to explain it… Firstly I need to mention that I didn’t read the book in English yet so I am not sure how that scene was translated…. to understand the scene you need to understand the“fart noise” meaning and use. The noise is made with the mouth and it’s usually a sign of disapproval and disrespect for what is the talker saying… it was used in that scene to express how did everyone that was watching the news including the reader felt about what was the government official was saying… As he was obviously was bullshiting the public and pretending that the government did their job stopping the attack which they didn’t considering all the people who died… So whoever made the noise was expressing his disapproval of what he was hearing.

Salam Almahi says:

I read this book in Arabic (I'm Sudanese), and I remember liking the idea behind it, yet finding the execution to be very poor.
In Arabic everything about the bloody and violent scenes sounds more grotesque, yet that was not my problem with it. It was the fat that I found it boring, arbitrary, and a wasted opportunity.
The judges, however, disagree with me because I remember it winning the Man Booker prize (correct me If I'm wrong).

يوسف رشيد_ Youssef Rasheed says:

انا من العراق 😍

Amy Pool says:

This book intrigues me SO much! I just love the original Frankenstein so much and anything that puts a spin on it sounds great to me! I'm also completely with you about this being about a war that we've been living through, just something that we millenials aren't really accostomed to reading about.

nisreen says:

I believe that the issue of lack of morality and having a moral center of the book is related directly to the experiences of people going through a horrific war. I am a Syrian. My friends and I can no longer see the world as black and white, we don't believe in a guiding morality because this is one of the first conceptions to be blown up by war. You witness everyday horrific acts committed by the best people because concepts like choice and right & wrong become distorted, alien and irrelevant to people surviving a brutal conflict abandoned by the entire​ world. Those who would survive can later, much later, reflect on the events through the traditional lenses of morality, good/evil, heroism, villainy, etc. But for the people living the war, those concepts are meaningless and irrelevant. And in my opinion, Saadawi's brilliance is his ability to capture that distortion and apathy more than anything else.

Jo Smith says:

This was the one on the MBI I thought sounded the most accessible so is the one I would turn to first although Vernon Subutex also piqued my interest and of course The White Book although for some reason I want to read Human Acts first. Hope you feel better Matthew!

ThatTaschReads says:

I've been wanting to check out Frankenstein in Baghdad for a while now. I think I really need to go order it now. 🤔

Basking in Books says:

Argh, why must you make me want to read all of the books?!? My TBR can’t handle it!

Laura Frey says:

Wonderful review. I had many similar thoughts and reactions, but id forgotten the burnt diaries. Good catch. I was also struck by the fact that this conflict happened pretty darn recently. I was an adult, but I self absorbed young adult who didn't pay attention. This book kinda grabs you and makes you take a good long look…

Dane Reads says:

This was a fantastic review, I've had my eye on this book for a while but this makes me really want to get to it!

Amy Yuki Vickers says:

Thanks for making the video, even though you aren't feeling so well. I hope you get better soon!

Bradger says:

Thanks for the video! My bookclub just finished reading it and we all rated it between a 2 or 3 out of 5 – sounds like you had the same thoughts as us!

Sandra Tester says:

I just started reading this & have enjoyed it so far. I am already struck by what an intense war is occurring, 15 car bombs in one day. Unfathomable.

My MBI reading was put off by 'Life Goes On'. My head felt it was in a vice and Krasznahorkai was pummeling it. I must say that it did feel Ecclesiastical; mankind's vain labour under the sun but it also left me too overwhelmed, so I took a break from the short list.

Did the swelling in your face occur after you starting taking the antibiotics? Is the swelling located around your lymph nodes or neck area? If this is a new symptom let your doctor know.

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