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Hassan Blasim

God 99

God 99

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Chess-playing people-traffickers; suicidal photographers; absurdist sound sculptors; cat-loving rebel sympathisers; murderous storytellers... The characters in Hassan Blasim's debut novel are not the inventions of a wild imagination; but real-life refugees and people whose lives have been devastated by war. Interviewed by Hassan Owl; an aspiring Iraq-born writer; they become the subjects of an online art project; a blog that blurs the boundaries between fiction and autobiography; reportage and the novel. Framed by an email correspondence with the mysterious Alia; a translator of the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran; the project leads us through the bars; brothels and bathhouses of Hassan's past and present in a journey of trauma; violence; identity and desire. Taking its conceit from the Islamic tradition that says God has 99 names; the novel trains a kaleidoscopic lens on the multiplicity of experiences behind Europe's so-called 'migrant crisis'; and asks how those who have been displaced might find themselves again.

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Literature & Fiction

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