The Orange Trees Of Baghdad

Paperback | March 1, 2014

byLeilah Nadir

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When the West invaded Iraq in 2003, Leilah Nadir felt as if she had been torn in two; both the occupier and the occupied coursed through her veins.
Born to an Iraqi father and an English mother, raised in Britain and Canada, she has always yearned to visit her father’s family but has never set foot on Iraqi soil. Now, as the bombs land on Baghdad and more of her relatives flee the country forever, Leilah begins to uncover the story of her lost roots. At the same time, she gets rare first-hand insight into what Iraqis are experiencing through the invasion and its aftermath. Her father is forced to look back as well, after decades of closing his eyes to Iraq’s pain.
The family home still stands intact, full of furniture, photographs and clothes still hanging in closets, all guarded by her great-aunt, who waits for someone to return and reclaim it. While American helicopters fly low overhead and suicide bombers shatter the calm, the date palms still sway in the heat of the day and jasmine continues to scent the Baghdad nights. The garden and its orange trees has changed beyond recognition, but still holds vivid nostalgic memories for the family.
Through her great-aunt and her cousins, Leilah learns what life is like in the embattled land as war becomes occupation and lawlessness takes hold. Leilah’s friend, award-winning photographer Farah Nosh, brings home news of Leilah’s family after her visits to Iraq as well as her own stories and photographs of Iraqis and their tragic stories.
And just as Leilah gives up hope of ever meeting her family, a surprise reunion takes place.

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From the Publisher

When the West invaded Iraq in 2003, Leilah Nadir felt as if she had been torn in two; both the occupier and the occupied coursed through her veins.Born to an Iraqi father and an English mother, raised in Britain and Canada, she has always yearned to visit her father’s family but has never set foot on Iraqi soil. Now, as the bombs land ...

Leilah Nadir has a master’s degree in English Literature from Edinburgh University and a joint honours bachelor’s degree in English and history from McGill University. She has worked in the publishing industry in London and Vancouver. Her memoirThe Orange Trees of Baghdadwon the George Ryga award in 2008 and has been published in Canad...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:March 1, 2014Publisher:Read LeafLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1927018358

ISBN - 13:9781927018354

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"Far more even than the terrifying bare facts and statistics, this moving memoir, vividly evoking real people and their lives and homes, lets us understand why Iraqis feel that Americans destroyed their country." - Noam Chomsky Winner of the George Ryga Prize 2008   Praise for The Orange Trees of Baghdad by Leilah Nadir from Canada, Australia, Italy, France and Turkey   “This is a powerful and important book.” — Vancouver Sun   “Leilah Nadir’s The Orange Trees of Baghdad reminds us that Iraq is not just a war; it is a country. Lovingly woven together from inherited memory and family lore, her Iraq is infinitely more vivid, more textured, and more heartbreaking than what we see nightly on the news…. this is a book about what loss really means — the theft of history and of homeland.” — Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine   In The Orange Trees of Baghdad, Leilah Nadir writes about a place she has never been to … giving voice to so many émigrés who have been cut off from their past by war and insurrection.” — Elle Canada   “Skillfully told with extraordinary warmth, her story gives us an incredible and often surprising insight into a Middle-Eastern culture that is simultaneously exotic and familiar, comforting and terrifying ... This is a compelling, touching and beautifully written book that thoughtfully challenges assumptions about a place and a people lost in the miasma of war.” — Brisbane Courier Mail   “The book belongs as much to her father as it does to Nadir: she uncovers her own past through his experiences ... her attempt to trace her family tree in an uncommon land makes this a compelling first book from a thoughtful writer.” — Quill and Quire   “Nadir’s work is stunning in its brilliance and poignant in its elegance…. The Orange Trees of Baghdad is a compelling memoir, worthy of every reader’s time, precisely because it eschews a simplistic understanding of all the issues it discusses.” — Canadian Literature   “The Orange Trees of Baghdad is unique in that it is not firsthand reportage…. But this remove is what gives Nadir’s book its terrible poignancy.” — Georgia Straight   “… at once moving, disturbing, confusing, and wonderfully hopeful.... Nadir succeeds in defining a face of contemporary war that is rarely discussed, though it is the matter of a wealth of historical literature. With incredible intricacy and remarkable sensitivity she presents a portrait of the human struggles of war…. These are lasting images that … underscore the resilience of the human spirit.” — Dr. Ivan Townshend, head judge of George Ryga Award 2008   “In a book that somehow manages to be both journalistic and intimate, the author eloquently reminds us that Iraq’s heart is a country, not a war. Her quest for her roots shows us the tragedy of this people whose land and history has been stolen from beneath them.” — France Culture   “A very finely written, deftly crafted work about Iraq that translates this epic disaster into human terms and makes us understand the endless suffering of its people. Touching, insightful and poignant.” — Eric Margolis, author of War at the Top of the World   “Leilah Nadir’s insightful, searching story about her Iraqi roots, family, exile, and survival, told in absorbing and moving language, reveals the great civilization now under assault.” — George Elliot Clarke, Poet Laureate of Toronto   “The Orange Trees of Baghdad is a stunning book, the best I’ve read in the past year. Leilah Nadir takes us on her quest to meet the members of her family whose lives have been uprooted by war. In the process, we are drawn into the heart of the world’s most ancient civilization. In the haunting, dreamlike pages of this book, we discover that as Baghdad is destroyed, the roots of our own deepest part are being torn asunder. Hypnotically readable.” — James Laxer, author of The Border and The Acadians     In this “powerful and important book” (Vancouver Sun), Leilah Nadir uncovers her lost roots, in the Iraq her father left behind decades ago. In the brutal aftermath of the invasion, a surprise reunion brings east and west together. Orange Trees won the George Ryga Award; Naomi Klein called it “Lovingly woven together … reminds us that Iraq is not just a war; it is a country.”