April 28, 2024

“The Tobacco Keeper” is a dilemma for the artist and a quest for a new concept of homeland

The Tobacco Keeper

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In his novel “The Tobacco Keeper,” published by Dar Alca (And its English translation was published by Bloomsbury USA), Iraqi novelist and writer Ali Bader presents a narrative discourse that explicates and analyzes some of the crises and stages of profound transformation, not only in the history of his native Iraq, but also in the history of the Arab world, across all political, social, and certainly intellectual levels.

Breaking out of the narrow frame

From his homeland of Iraq, and through the sensitive and observant eyes of an artist, Badr was able to shape this new vision towards the most prominent issues of the East. Through the story of this struggling artist, we can explore the most significant universal human questions, which run parallel to highly specific local and regional inquiries. Through this artist and his perspective, Badr managed to take the reader out of the narrow framework of a particular region, whether it be Iraq or any other Arab country, into a broader space, the world at large.

The history within the narrative

In the early pages of the novel, we are introduced to some of the major events that have occurred in the Arab world and Iraq in the modern era since the beginning of the last century. These include the first flow of oil from the first well in Iraq in 1927, the official end of British mandate in Iraq in 1932, the revocation of Iraqi citizenship for Jews, the Tripartite Aggression against Egypt in 1956, and the subsequent noisy demonstrations in Baghdad and some Arab capitals in support of Egypt and Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Then came the military coup led by Abdul-Karim Qasim in Iraq in 1958, along with many other important and pivotal events in the history of the Arab world. This region not only influences the domestic politics of each Arabic-speaking country but also impacts the global political systems.

The mention of dates here in the novel is not merely for historical reference but rather to signify the stages of political transformation, which resulted in ideological shifts and events that determined the fate of the protagonist.. who is human .

The Search for Human

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