Farewell, Babylon: Coming of Age in Jewish Baghdad

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David R. Godine, 2007 - Fiction - 199 pages
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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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Farewell, Babylon: Coming of Age in Jewish Baghdad

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Released asAdieu, Babylon in 1975, Kattan's title includes his memories of growing up in a Jewish area of Baghdad. Anti-Semitism and nationalism were growing and would put an end to the centuries-old ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Naim Kattan is one of the grand old men of Quebec letters. Winner of Quebec's prestigious Prix Athanse-David as well as the French Legion d'honneur, he has published 32 books of poetry, essays, and fiction, all in French, since coming to Canada in 1954.

Naim Kattan has lived in Montreal since 1954. He has written more than thirty books of poetry, essays and fiction, which have been translated into many different languages. He has received many honors including the France-Canada Prize and France's prestigious Legion d'Honneur.

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