A translation of an award-winning Iraqi novelist’s story exploring global migration in a postcolonial world, extremism, and what it means to belong somewhere
The talented classical cellist Nabil always imagined a world where music and art govern everyday life. After being attacked in his hometown in Iraq and not being able to play music, Nabil decides to emigrate to Europe, where he thinks he can fit into society better. He muses about music, the Utopian City as envisioned by philosopher al-Farabi, and if there is any place that will meet his ideals. When Nabil meets Fanny and they become lovers, she tries to help him get back on his feet but he struggles to accept it. Ali Bader uses Nabil’s story to explore an artist’s place in the world and to subtly critique both Iraqi and European societies.
Originally published in Arabic in 2016 during the peak of migration from the Middle East to Europe, Musician in the Clouds explores global migration in a postcolonial world, the impacts of extremism, and what it means to belong somewhere. This translation includes the author's newly updated novel, published in 2023, and an original interview between the author and translator about the book.
Ali Bader is an Iraqi novelist, essayist, poet, and screenwriter and the winner of five major Arabic awards. Author of Papa Sartre and The Tobacco Keeper, he currently lives in Brussels, Belgium.
Ikram Masmoudi is Associate Professor of Arabic at the University of Delaware, where she chairs the Arabic Program. She also is the author of War and Occupation in Iraqi Fiction and the translator of Beyond Love by Iraqi author Hadiya Hussein (2012).
128 pp., 5 x 8
128 pp., 5 x 8