Out of Mesopotamia

Out of Mesopotamia

by Salar Abdoh

Hardcover

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Overview

Informed by firsthand experience on the battlefronts of Iraq and Syria, Abdoh captures the horror, confusion, and absurdity of combat from a seldom-glimpsed perspective that expands our understanding of the war novel.

"Abdoh's powerful novel follows an Iranian war reporter who is torn between his wearying job on the front lines and a civilian existence that he finds increasingly alienating. The book is as much a reflection on memory and art as it is a war story, and Abdoh's writing captures beautifully the absurdity of both the battlefield and modern life."
New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

Saleh, the narrator of Out of Mesopotamia, is a middle-aged Iranian journalist who moonlights as a writer for one of Iran's most popular TV shows but cannot keep himself away from the front lines in neighboring Iraq and Syria. There, the fight against the Islamic State is a proxy war, an existential battle, a declaration of faith, and, for some, a passing weekend affair.

After weeks spent dodging RPGs, witnessing acts of savagery and stupidity, Saleh returns to civilian life in Tehran but finds it to be an unbearably dislocating experience. Pursued by his official handler from state security, opportunistic colleagues, and the woman who broke his heart, Saleh has reason to again flee from everyday life. Surrounded by men whose willingness to achieve martyrdom both fascinates and appalls him, Saleh struggles to make sense of himself and the turmoil in his midst.

An unprecedented glimpse into "endless war" from a Middle Eastern perspective, Out of Mesopotamia follows in the tradition of the Western canon of martial writers—from Hemingway and Orwell to Tim O'Brien and Philip Caputo—but then subverts and expands upon the genre before completely blowing it apart. Drawing from his firsthand experience of being embedded with Shia militias on the ground in Iraq and Syria, Abdoh gives agency to the voiceless while offering a meditation on war that is moving, humane, darkly funny, and resonantly true.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617758607
Publisher: Akashic Books
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,135,438
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Salar Abdoh was born in Iran and splits his time between Tehran and New York City. He is the author of the novels Tehran at Twilight, The Poet Game, and Opium; and he is the editor of Tehran Noir. He teaches in the MFA program at the City College of New York.

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