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

  • In Their Best Interest
  • In Their Best Interest

    Why many neglected kids don't have legal representation for critical decisions that could dictate their future
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • 'Right Side of History'
  • 'Right Side of History'

    The Washington Supreme Court rules against Arlene's Flowers; plus, two dogs call it a day
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Frozen Out
  • Frozen Out

    In the middle of a chaotic winter, the city of Spokane ousted its veteran street director, but won't give an explanation to the city council
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Syrian
  • The Syrian

    One family from Syria has found welcoming arms in Spokane, and many others may follow
    • Sep 24, 2015

Comments


Comments are closed.

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
A Little Night Music

A Little Night Music @ Spokane Civic Theatre

Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through March 5

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

  • We Have Not Yet Begun to Fight

    Why we're filling the streets to protest Trump's inhumane, dangerous policies
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Obscene Gestures

    Spokane political party leaders hope to harness post-election passion into civil discourse. But so far, there's only been more strife
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Comment


do something


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • 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
  • Rushing's Rant

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

    How a debate over adding two more commissioners turned political and personal
    • Oct 8, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation