Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: Ibtisam Abdullah, Ibrahim Ahmed, Shmuel Moreh

contemporary-iraqi-190The last three stories in Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: An Anthology all struck me, although not as deeply as Khudayyir, Naqqash, or Shimon.

Ibtisam Abdullah’s second story, “The Other in the Mirror,” tells of a woman in passionate love with her husband, who is then sent to the front. Each time he returns, he is a little more changed, a little more silent, and a little more obsessed with the idea that his face is morphing—that the internal changes are writ on his body.

Ibrahim Ahmed’s story, “The Arctic Refugee,” is about an Iraqi seeking asylum who ends up with Eskimos. It’s just silly and fun.

Shmuel Moreh’s “A Belly Dancer from Baghdad” is an interesting dance, between an Iraqi-Jewish male refugee and an Iraqi Muslim female. The male barely speaks, although he is the narrator, and is thus “reading” the Iraqi Muslim woman throughout the story. Interesting and psychologically astute, particularly his reflecting her wounded dignity; I would look for more from Shmuel Moreh.