Muhsin Al-Ramli - The President's Gardens - Quercus

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback £12.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9780857056788
    • Publication date:20 Apr 2017
  • Downloadable audio file £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9780857057266
    • Publication date:20 Apr 2017
  • Paperback £8.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9780857056801
    • Publication date:19 Apr 2018
Books in this series

The President's Gardens

By Muhsin Al-Ramli

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Kite Runner in Saddam Hussein's Iraq

One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Kite Runner in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

"A contemporary tragedy of epic proportions. No author is better placed than Muhsin Al-Ramli, already a star in the Arabic literary scene, to tell this story. I read it in one sitting".
Hassan Blasim, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Iraqi Christ.

On the third day of Ramadan, the village wakes to find the severed heads of nine of its sons stacked in banana crates by the bus stop.

One of them belonged to one of the most wanted men in Iraq, known to his friends as Ibrahim the Fated.

How did this good and humble man earn the enmity of so many? What did he do to deserve such a death?

The answer lies in his lifelong friendship with Abdullah Kafka and Tariq the Befuddled, who each have their own remarkable stories to tell.

It lies on the scarred, irradiated battlefields of the Gulf War and in the ashes of a revolution strangled in its cradle.

It lies in the steadfast love of his wife and the festering scorn of his daughter.

And, above all, it lies behind the locked gates of The President's Gardens, buried alongside the countless victims of a pitiless reign of terror.

Translated from the Arabic by Luke Leafgren

Biographical Notes

Muhsin Al-Ramli is an Iraqi writer, poet, academic and translator, born in the village of Sudara in northern Iraq in 1967. He has lived in Madrid since 1995. The President's Gardens was longlisted for the IPAF, known as the "Arabic Booker", in 2013.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780857056795
  • Publication date: 20 Apr 2017
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: MacLehose Press
Though firmly rooted in its context, The President's Gardens' concerns are universal. It is a profoundly moving investigation of love, death and injustice, and an affirmation of the importance of dignity, friendship and meaning amid oppression. The novel is undoubtedly a tragedy, but its light touch and persistent humour make it an enormous pleasure to read. — Robin Yassin-Kassab, Guardian.
A story buffeted by the wider tides of history: the bloody churn of dictatorship, invasion and occupation . . . The President's Gardens evokes the fantastical, small town feel of One Hundred Years of Solitude . . . Shocks and enchants. — Tom Gordon, Financial Times.
A beautiful novel . . . Consistently compelling . . . In writing about ordinary Iraqis who pay the cost of wars waged by autocratic leaders, Al-Ramli touches on deep and timeless themes. — Alastair Mabbott, Glasgow Herald.
Deeply painful and satirical, The President's Gardens is a contemporary tragedy of epic proportions. No author is better placed than Muhsin Al-Ramli, already a star in the Arabic literary scene, to tell this story. I read it in one sitting. — Hassan Blasim, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
One of the most important contemporary Iraqi novelists and writers. — El Mundo.
A stunning achievement. — Ben East, The National.
A novel filled with details . . . with passion, homeland, revolution, and grief. It represents a landmark in the progression of Iraqi literature. — Miral Al-Tahawi.
How do you preserve dignity amidst the relentless carnage and mutilation of modern Iraq? Told with a fresh transparency and tender insight, The President's Gardens draws on the unfathomable resilience of the Iraqi people, leaving me speechless and humbled. — Paul MacAlindin, author of Upbeat: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq.
Masterful. — Malu Halasa, co-author and editor of Syria Speaks.
MacLehose Press

One Ice-cold January Morning at the Beginning of the 21st Century

Roland Schimmelpfennig
Authors:
Roland Schimmelpfennig

riverrun

Almost Love

Louise O'Neill
Authors:
Louise O'Neill
MacLehose Press

About the Size of the Universe

Jón Kalman Stefánsson
Authors:
Jón Kalman Stefánsson
riverrun

All Rivers Run Free

Natasha Carthew
Authors:
Natasha Carthew
riverrun

The Italian Teacher

Tom Rachman
Authors:
Tom Rachman

Rome, 1955The artists are gathering together for a photograph. In one of Rome's historic villas, a party is bright with near-genius, shaded by the socialite patrons of their art. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast, masculine, meaty canvases, is their god. Larger than life, muscular in both figure and opinion, he blazes at art criticism and burns half his paintings. He is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot.From the side of the room watches little Pinch - their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, striving to live up to the Bavinsky name; while Natalie, a ceramicist, cannot hope to be more than a forgotten muse. Trying to burn brightly under his father's shadow - one of the twentieth century's fiercest and most controversial painters - Pinch's attempts flicker and die. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, Pinch will enact an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy.What makes an artist? In The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachman displays a nuanced understanding of twentieth-century art and its demons, vultures and chimeras. Moreover, in Pinch he achieves a portrait of painful vulnerability and realism: talent made irrelevant by personality. Stripped of egotism, authenticity or genius, Pinch forces us to face the deep held fear of a life lived in vain.

MacLehose Press

A Hero Born

Jin Yong
Authors:
Jin Yong
riverrun

Histories

Sam Guglani
Authors:
Sam Guglani

'Profound . . . Poetic . . . Humane' Gabriel Weston'Shows rare skill . . . Power and fear and morality' Sarah Moss, author of The Tidal Zone'Tender . . . designed to break your heart, mend it, then break it all over again' Rory Gleeson, author of Rockadoon ShoreHistories is a hypnotic portrait of life in one hospital, over one week. In the corridors and consulting rooms, by the bedside, through the open curtain, we witness charged encounters within the emotional and physical world of medicine. Old insecurities surface as junior doctors try to save a man from dying; an enraged chaplain picks a fight with a consultant; a porter waxes lyrical on his invisibility. These are only some of the stories that so seamlessly connect, collide and create an unforgettable panorama of being. Sam Guglani's vivid prose has the raw intensity of poetry that pulls one in on every page.

Jo Fletcher Books

The Crow Garden

Alison Littlewood
Authors:
Alison Littlewood
MacLehose Press

The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles

Roy Jacobsen
Authors:
Roy Jacobsen
riverrun

I Am Behind You

John Ajvide Lindqvist
Authors:
John Ajvide Lindqvist
MacLehose Press

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye: Continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series

David Lagercrantz
Authors:
David Lagercrantz
MacLehose Press

Three Days and a Life

Pierre Lemaitre
Authors:
Pierre Lemaitre
MacLehose Press

The Mountain

Luca D'Andrea
Authors:
Luca D'Andrea

An atmospheric commercial thriller for readers of Stephen King and Joël DickerJeremiah Salinger blames himself. The crash was his fault. He was the only survivor. Now only his daughter Clara can put a smile on his face. The depression and the nightmares are closing in. But when he takes Clara to the Bletterbach - a canyon in the Dolomites rich in fossil remains - he overhears by chance a conversation that gives his life renewed focus. In 1985 three students were murdered there, their bodies savaged, limbs severed and strewn by a killer who was never found. Salinger, a New Yorker, is far from home, and these Italian mountains, where his wife was born, harbour a close-knit, tight-lipped community whose mistrust of outsiders can turn ugly. All the same, solving this mystery might be the only thing that can keep him sane.Translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis

riverrun

You Should Have Left

Daniel Kehlmann
Authors:
Daniel Kehlmann

A thrilling exploration of psychological disturbance and fear from the bestselling and prize-winning author of Measuring the World.On retreat in the wintry Alps with his family, a writer is optimistic about completing the sequel to his breakthrough film. Nothing to disturb him except the wind whispering around their glassy house. The perfect place to focus. Intruding on that peace of mind, the demands of his four-year-old daughter splinter open long-simmering arguments with his wife. I love her, he writes in the notebook intended for his script. Why do we fight all the time?Guilt and expectation strain at his concentration, and strain, too, at the walls of the house. They warp under his watch; at night, looking through the window, he sees impossible reflections on the snow outside.Then the words start to appear in his notebook; the words he didn't write.Familiar and forbidding by turns, this is an electrifying experiment in form by one of Europe's boldest writers. The ordinary struggles of a marriage transform, in Kehlmann's hands, into a twisted fable that stays darkly in the mind.

Quercus

The Early Birds

Laurie Graham
Authors:
Laurie Graham

The Early Birds is a hymn to lifelong female friendship and the touching and funny follow-up to The Future Homemakers of America by the celebrated Laurie Graham. 'Why is Laurie Graham not carried on people's shoulders through cheering crowds? Her books are brilliant!' Marian KeyesPicking up ten years after The Future Homemakers of America left off, The Early Birds follows Peggy, Kath, Gayle, Lois and Audrey through the turn of the twenty-first century. The women are now in their seventies and time is rendering its Accounts Payable: arthritis, cataracts, forgetfulness and departures.From the dawn of the new millennium - at which the anti-Christ unaccountably fails to appear, despite evangelist Gayle's predictions - Peggy soldiers on through new upheavals, including her ex-husband Vern's Alzheimer's diagnosis, and the death of one of her live-in friends. Then, on a clear blue day in September 2001, the US Air Force scrambles too late to save America from four hostile attacks, and for the first time Peggy wonders if being a USAF wife - the constant worry about your husband, the faraway postings in Alaska, Norfolk, Siberia, the lack of control over your own life - was worth it. 'You're getting very negative in your old age, Peggy Dewey,' says Lois. 'Sure it was worthwhile. Leastways we're not speaking Russky. And besides, we had some fun. Didn't we have some fun?'

riverrun

Larchfield

Polly Clark
Authors:
Polly Clark

'Mysterious, wondrous, captivating' Louis de Bernieres 'We need the courage to choose ourselves' W. H. AudenIt's early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. Newly married, pregnant, she's excited by the prospect of a life that combines family and creativity. She thinks she knows what being a person, a wife, a mother, means. She is soon shown that she is wrong. As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether.Another poet, she discovers, lived in Helensburgh once. Wystan H. Auden, brilliant and awkward at 24, with his first book of poetry published, should be embarking on success and society in London. Instead, in 1930, fleeing a broken engagement, he takes a teaching post at Larchfield School for boys where he is mocked for his Englishness and suspected - rightly - of homosexuality. Yet in this repressed limbo Wystan will fall in love for the first time, even as he fights his deepest fears.The need for human connection compels these two vulnerable outsiders to find each other and make a reality of their own that will save them both. Echoing the depths of Possession, the elegance of The Stranger's Child and the ingenuity of Longbourn, Larchfield is a beautiful and haunting novel about heroism - the unusual bravery that allows unusual people to go on living; to transcend banality and suffering with the power of their imagination.

Quercus

Beneath the Surface

Jo Spain
Authors:
Jo Spain

From top-ten Irish bestselling author Jo Spain comes the second novel in the Inspector Tom Reynolds seriesDid I know it would come to this? That I was playing Russian Roulette? I would give anything to turn back time and to be with my girls. There is no shot at redemption. I am going to die. The gun is in my eye-line as the second bullet is fired. That's the one that kills me.Late at night, two powerful men meet in a secret location to discuss a long nurtured plan about to come to fruition. One is desperate to know there is nothing standing in their way - the other assures him everything is taken care of. Hours later, a high-ranking government official called Ryan Finnegan is brutally slain in the most secure building in Ireland - Leinster House, the seat of parliament. Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to uncover the truth behind the murder.At first, all the evidence hints at a politically motivated crime, until a surprise discovery takes the investigation in a dramatically different direction. Suddenly the motive for murder has got a lot more personal. . . but who benefits the most from Ryan's death?

riverrun

The Man Who Wanted to Know

D. A. Mishani
Authors:
D. A. Mishani
MacLehose Press

The Bickford Fuse

Andrey Kurkov
Authors:
Andrey Kurkov

Catch-22 meets The Brothers Karamazov in the last great satire of the Soviet EraThe Great Patriotic War is stumbling to a close, but a new darkness has fallen over Soviet Russia. And for a disparate, disconnected clutch of wanderers - many thousands of miles apart but linked by a common goal - four parallel journeys are just beginning.Gorych and his driver, rolling through water, sand and snow on an empty petrol tank; the occupant of a black airship, looking down benevolently as he floats above his Fatherland; young Andrey, who leaves his religious community in search of a new life; and Kharitonov, who trudges from the Sea of Japan to Leningrad, carrying a fuse that, when lit, could blow all and sundry to smithereens.Written in the final years of Communism, The Bickford Fuse is a satirical epic of the Soviet soul, exploring the origins and dead-ends of the Russian mentality from the end of World War Two to the Union's collapse. Blending allegory and fable with real events, and as deliriously absurd as anything Kurkov has written, it is both an elegy for lost years and a song of hope for a future not yet set in stone.Translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk

Quercus

One Summer in Tuscany

Domenica De Rosa
Authors:
Domenica De Rosa

Rivalries and romance in a Tuscan paradise. A relaxing writers' retreat? If only! Perfect holiday reading from Domenica de Rosa, author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway series under the name Elly Griffiths. Previously published as SUMMER SCHOOL.Patricia Wilson's carefully composed ads for the writers' retreat she runs at her thirteenth-century Italian castle promise so much. But while the splendour of their surroundings and chef Aldo's melanzane never fail to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It's make or break time for the Castello.Each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with the inevitable baggage alongside their unpublished manuscripts. But this August something is different, and soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo's vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with ghosts, scorpions, and some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing's for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this.