Frankenstein in Baghdad

Frankenstein in Baghdad

Book - 2018
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From the rubble-strewn streets of US-occupied Baghdad, the scavenger Hadi collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and give them a proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realises he has created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive; first from the guilty, and then from anyone who crosses its path.
Publisher: London :, Oneworld Publications,, 2018.
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: 272 pages ;,22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Wright, Jonathan 1953-
Notes: Originally published in Arabic in 2013.
The author's name is written as Ahmed Saadawi on the cover, title page and spine.
Translated from the Arabic.


From Library Staff

This is a brilliant story of interlinking lives in a very stressful environment, the guilt of humanity, and finding love in a seemingly cruel world. Well written with heart and humour and a good translation. Bombs are going off all around Baghdad killing the innocent and the militant alike. A ju... Read More »

This creative re-imagining of Frankenstein is set in US-occupied Baghdad. Junk dealer Hadi collects body parts from bomb victims and stitches them together to create a new body, one which becomes inhabited by a lost spirit intent on committing a murderous revenge quest. A grisly, harrowing look a... Read More »

Dan' pick: Bombs are going off all around Baghdad killing the innocent and the militant alike. And a junk dealer named Hadi collects body parts of the recently dead and stitches together a new "creature", one who has been inhabited by a lost spirit and needs to enact revenge on those re... Read More »

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Nov 28, 2019

Phenomenal concept for a novel, which speaks to the collective traumas and circular impacts of violence on the inhabitants of Baghdad. The shared narration of characters was beautifully done. The ending felt like a significant shift from the meat of the novel, which built the story with clarity and purpose, towards a more philosophical and ambiguous conclusion. Perhaps that is deliberate commentary on the increasing moral ambivalence and uncertainty in an ongoing conflict-- but I found myself waiting for an ending that matched the narrative strength of the rising action. Want to read in the original Arabic!

Dec 08, 2018

Where Mary Shelley's work contemplated who was truly human, and who were the monsters, this book uses the monster motif to explore the futility of seeking revenge at a time when the lines of criminal and victim are blurred by unending war and violence.

It's a good book and doesn't feel like philosophy is being jammed down your throat. You could read it just for the compelling story.

Aug 26, 2018

What do you get when you combine the literary tradition begun by Mary Shelley with a city where bombs fall from the sky and roll up to you on four wheels on the street and lurk under piles of trash? When you combine human pettiness with the shifting, anarchic politics of a country divided from within and bullied from without, and a little bit of magic?

You don't get justice, it turns out, or even a clean revenge, but you do get a masterpiece of a book.

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