Should You Listen to Hassan Blasim’s Stories Online?

My friend Mai once told me, Reading is one thing. Seeing a thing on film is another. She was referring to Blindness, which I’m sure I couldn’t take from a “push” medium. And if there were a film based on Madman of Freedom Square—all respect to the author, who I’m sure could use the cash—I would have to run the other way.

Of course, I like old-fashioned books. I like to slowly savor paragraphs, mark them down, return to them. But the idea of Madman in audio is tempting. I also like radio fiction; when I lived in the U.S., I enjoyed the program Selected Shorts. But I never heard anything like Hassan Blasim on Selected Shorts.

The four stories of Blasim’s available on Spoken Ink are read aloud by actor Raad Rawi, and his bio says: “His readings of Hassan Blasim’s short stories are some of the best on the site. He is originally from Baghdad and brings a realism to the tales that is at times quite terrifying.”

Maybe I don’t need that much terror in my life.

For the brave, I suggest “The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes.” (I cannot account for Spoken Ink’s suggestion that if you like this story, you may like Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Sure, you might; you might also like “The Velveteen Rabbit” or “After the Race” or “A Christmas Carol.” And?)

If you download “The Truck to Berlin,” please have something to help return you to sanity thereafter.

The stories are priced at 1.99 pounds sterling each; I have no idea how much money that is. More than 2 pounds Egyptian, I’m sure.