Scattered Crumbs

Scattered Crumbs

Publishing House: Arkansas Press

Publication Year: 2003

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 111

“Scattered Crumbs,” authored by Muhsin Al-Ramli, is a poignant narrative set amidst the Iran-Iraq war in an Iraqi village. The novel critiques life under oppressive rule, exploring the impact of dictatorship and war on an Iraqi family. Al-Ramli vividly portrays conflicts intensified by political turmoil through this impoverished peasant family’s lens.

Central to the story is a father, an ardent admirer of Saddam Hussein, known as “The Leader.” His fervent support for the dictatorship starkly contrasts with his son’s, an artist. The son’s love for his homeland is palpable, yet he faces a moral and artistic quandary. He cannot bring himself to paint the Leader’s portrait, as demanded by his father. The ideological clash mirrors broader societal conflicts, symbolizing generational and intellectual rifts exacerbated by the regime.

A Tale of Identity, Exile, and Suffering in 1980s Iraq Amidst Dictatorship and Conflict

The narrator, another crucial character, recounts the gradual disintegration of his family. Departing in search of his cousin, he reflects on the scant knowledge defined by his cousin’s absence. This journey symbolizes a broader search for identity and belonging amidst the chaos of war and dictatorship.

“Scattered Crumbs,” originally published in Arabic in Cairo in 2000, has been masterfully translated to convey the original text’s subtle sarcasm and elliptical rhythms. Translator Yasir Suleiman brings to the fore the novel’s nuanced exploration of the deterioration of both the country and its people, who are swept into the maelstrom of political and social upheaval.

Al-Ramli’s narrative depicts exile’s harsh realities, driven by explosive forces. The pain mirrors skin flaying for those trampled in their homeland. The novel stitches memories – Azawi’s café, Basra’s winged bull. Older generations cling, while younger ones, overwhelmed, seek refuge in succinct expressions. “Scattered Crumbs,” set in 1980s Iraq, reflects profound suffering during dictatorship and conflict.

Read More About Muhsin Al-Ramli

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