The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq
An explosive new voice in fiction emerges from Iraq in this blistering debut by “perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive” (The Guardian
“Arresting, auspicious . . . Well-plotted, blackly comic . . . Sharp, tragicomic moments . . . persist in memory. . . . Its opening story [features] a terrorist middle manager who wouldn’t be out of place in one of George Saunders’s workplace nightmares. . . . ‘The Song of the Goats’ [is] a cunning gem. . . . If a short story could break the heart of a rock, this might just be the one. . . . The collection’s last story is so complicatedly good [with] an ending worthy of Rod Serling. Mr. Blasim’s stories owe more than a little of their dream logic to [Carlos] Fuentes and Serling, with maybe some Julio Cortázar thrown in. . . . Their sequence imparts a mounting novelistic power.” —The New York Times
“Brilliant and disturbing . . . Bitter, furious and unforgettable, the stories seem to have been carved out of the country’s suppurating history like pieces of ragged flesh.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Superb . . . The existence of this book is reason for hope, proof of the power of storytelling.” —The Boston Globe
“A bravura collection . . . Mind-bendingly bizarre . . . Blasim . . . lights his charnel house with guttering flares of wit. . . . [Be] ready to be shocked and awed by these pitch-black fairytales.” —The National
“Unforgettable . . . Very important . . . [Blasim’s stories] could only come out of firsthand experience of the war.” —Flavorwire, 10 Must-Read Books for February
“A vivid, sometimes lurid picture of wartime Iraq [by] one of the most important Arabic-language storytellers . . . Violent, bleak and occasionally beautiful . . . Dark and sometimes bitterly funny . . . Most of these stories feel ready to collapse or explode at any moment. . . . The reader walks on solid ground one moment, and the next the ground gives way—sending him tumbling into deep, otherworldly holes.” —Chicago Tribune
“A blunt and gruesome look at the Iraq War from the perspective of Iraqi citizens . . . Blasim’s stories give shape to an absurdist world in which brutal violence is commonplace. . . . [For] fans of Roberto Bolaño, Junot Díaz, and other writers who employ magical realism when describing grim realities.” —The Huffington Post
“Shocking, urgent, vital literature. I will be surprised if another work of fiction this Important, with a capital I, gets published all year. If you’re human, and you are even remotely aware that a war was recently fought in Iraq, you ought to read The Corpse Exhibition.” —Brian Hurley, Fiction Advocate
“Blasim pitches everyday horror into something almost gothic. . . . [His] taste for the surreal can be Gogol-like.” —The Independent
“Stunningly powerful . . . Brutal, vulgar, imaginative, and unerringly captivating . . . Every story ends with a shock, and none of them falter. A searing, original portrait of Iraq and the universal fallout of war.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The first story alone blew me away. Don’t miss.” —Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
“Powerful, moving and deeply descriptive . . . All the stories share a complexity and depth that will appeal to readers of literary fiction [and] fans of Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez or Jorge Luis Borges.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Excellent . . . Like hollow shards of laughter echoing in the dark . . . Blasim moves adeptly between surreal, internalised states of mind and ironic commentary on Islamic extremism and the American invasion. . . . Extraordinary.” —Metro
“Iraq's story must still be told, and we need Iraqi voices like Blasim's to tell it.” —More Intelligent Life
“Clever and memorable . . . Agreeably creepy . . . Move[s] effectively between surreal and magical. . . . Blasim’s use of the real-life horrors of Iraq [and] the fanciful spins he puts on events make the horrors bearable—even as these also often become more chilling.” —The Complete Review
“The first major literary work about the Iraq War as told from an Iraqi perspective . . . Starkly visual . . . Luridly macabre . . . Eloquent, moving . . . Effortlessly powerful and affecting . . . More surreally gruesome than the goriest of horror stories . . . Hassan Blasim is very much a writer in [the] Dickensian mould. . . . These are tales that demand to be told.” —CityLife.co.uk
“Savagely comic . . . A corrosive mixture of broken lyricism, bitter irony and hyper-realism . . . I can’t recommend highly enough ‘The Corpse Exhibition,’ ‘The Market of Stories’ or ‘The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes.’ ” —The M John Harrison blog
“[Blasim is] a master of metaphor who is now developing his own dark philosophy [in] stories of profane lyricism, skewed symbolism and macabre romanticism. . . . [His work is] Bolaño-esque in its visceral exuberance, and also Borgesian in its gnomic complexity.” —The Guardian
Hassan Blasim's story collection "The Corpse Exhibition" gives tales of war a surrealistic spinThe Wall Street Journal
An Iraq Blasted Open, Sketched From the Inside
'These dark and sometimes bitterly funny stories are shape-shifting, Borgesian tales in which often we discover the narrator is mad or lying. But even when the stories betray their tellers, the characters can't give up narrating their lives. The act of storytelling is at the chaotic center of this collection's violent, bleak and occasionally beautiful world.'
This grounds the elements of gothic horror and black magic in the unvarnished realities of daily Iraqi life, making the savagery appear startlingly routine. Bitter, furious and unforgettable, the stories seem to have been carved out of the country's suppurating history like pieces of ragged flesh.
The Wall Street
In Hassan Blasim’s short story, we see (and hear) dead peopleBlasim deserves a wider audience, one ready to be shocked and awed by these pitch-black fairytales
Barnes & Noble selected THE CORPSE EXHIBITION for Spring 2014’s “Discover Great New Writers” list
'So the storytellers gather in Hassan Blasim's pages; they want to see which story will stick. We can demand that they take fuller breaths, that they wait their turn before speaking. We can ask that they linger over the raw moments, that they explain the logic behind the djinni, the reason for the bombs.
Or we can listen.'
The Corpse ExhibitionThe Kansas City Star
"Before taking out his knife, he said, 'after studying the client's file you must submit a brief note on how you propose to kill your first client and how you will display his body in the city.'
The Book Were Talking About
All the stories share a complexity and depth that will appeal to readers of literary fiction, while some focus more plainly on evil’s abyss, much like biblical parables. A collection of fractured-mirror reality stories for fans of Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez or Jorge Luis Borges
'None of the horror is gratuitous; every story ends with a shock, and none of them falter. A searing, original portrait of Iraq and the universal fallout of war.'
My working has been supported by /Työskentelyäni ovat tukeneet
Alfred Kordelinin Säätiö
Suomen Elokuvasäätiö /Finnish Film Foundation