Farewell, Babylon: Coming of Age in Jewish Baghdad (Google eBook)
Naim Kattan was born in the heart of the ancient Jewish community of Baghdad. This memoir tells of the young man's coming of age in the turbulent 1940s, of his discovery of learning, of work, of friendship, and of patriotism and all that love of country means, especially to an Iraqi few. He and his friends, both Jewish and Muslim, attempt to bridge their ethnic divide by passionate discussions in coffee houses and by trying to forge a new Iraqi literature. However, larger political events were to drive them apart and inspire the young Kattan to seek a new life elsewhere.
This is a unique glimpse into an exotic world and a loss of innocence - the idealism of youth versus the pragmatism of experience, the attempt to explore love and sex in a society where the women are veiled and closely guarded. It is a fascinating portrait of a people, a city, a state, and a culture that are still, unfortunately, as troubled and divided today as Kattan found them all those years ago.
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Review: Farewell, Babylon: Coming of Age in Jewish BaghdadUser Review - Adrian Brown - Goodreads
Interesting account of life in pre-1948 Jewish Baghdad, although not as flowing due to obvious translation of the work (it was originally published in French). Still good for those interested in Middle Eastern history. Read full review
Review: Farewell, Babylon: Coming of Age in Jewish BaghdadUser Review - Hilary Hicklin - Goodreads
A coming-of-age memoir of a Jewish boy in Baghdad in the 1940s; I learnt a few new things but this is a poor translation which really marred any pleasure in the book. Had I known it was originally published in French I would have read it in that language. Read full review