Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

by JULIET WATERS & r & & r & The Orange Trees of Baghdad & r & by Leilah Nadir & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & brahim Nadir describes his childhood home in Baghdad: "Rose bushes lined the walls and orange trees hung over the blossoms and dark leaves.... We had a pomegranate tree that bore small fruit that my younger sister liked to eat.... A grapevine crept over a trellis on the patio behind the house, giving us shade in the heat of summer."





Baghdad today -- the Baghdad his daughter Leilah Nadir does her best to describe in The Orange Trees of Baghdad -- does not evoke this picture. Instead, images of mercenaries shooting up innocent Iraqis come to mind. Nadir's uncle Karim describes his aunt Lina's house soon after her death in 2005 -- a house on a street protected by American troops: "Everything was gone.... It was like a plague of locusts had eaten the house clean. ... the kitchen counter, the kitchen and bathroom sinks had vanished too.... Even the copper wire from the electricity cables had been stolen."





But if Baghdad was ever the Garden of Eden, it's been a while. Ibrahim left in 1960 at age 16 on a scholarship to London and never returned. With good reason; teenagers in Baghdad in the early '60s were already patrolling the streets with guns for the Baath party.





After becoming a petroleum engineer, Ibrahim married a British girl and moved to Calgary. Nadir, who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, never knew her father's family. This makes a family memoir extremely challenging, with a far greater sense of urgency than the average genealogical quest. It's now or never for Nadir; there's a good chance her relatives and evidence of their lives will be destroyed at any time.





The picture Nadir provides is of a continuum of suffering in Iraq. The orange trees at her aunt Lina's house had started dying during the Gulf War. Still, the despair her relatives feel at the prospect of leaving Baghdad is palpable.





It's hard to avoid the reality in this poignant memoir -- so far, published only in Canada -- that Nadir's roots are ours, too -- roots that seem to be rotting with every page we turn.





This review originally appeared in the Montreal Mirror.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Seven Ways Drought is Impacting the Inland Northwest
  • Seven Ways Drought is Impacting the Inland Northwest

    No, it's not as bad as in California, but drought is taking a hefty toll
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • Call Mr. Yuk
  • Call Mr. Yuk

    Gov. Inslee avoids the "poison pill"; plus, pushing back against empty Kickstarter promises
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Moscow ArtWalk 2015

Moscow ArtWalk 2015 @ Downtown Moscow

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. Continues through Aug. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Rushing's Rant

    The Airway Heights City Council has asked the mayor to resign after posting a racist Facebook message
    • Jul 15, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation