Abbas Khider: The Village Indian

translated by Donal McLaughlin

Part Odyssey of the Persian Gulf and part 1001 Nights in Europe, this debut novel is drawn from the author’s experiences as a political prisoner and years as a refugee. Our hero Rasul Hamid describes the eight different ways that he fled his home in Iraq and the eight different ways he has failed to find a new way back to home. From Iraq via Northern Africa through Europe and back again, Khider deftly blends the tragic with the comic, in order to tell the story of surviving the real and brutal dangers of life as a refugee – and to remember the haunting faces of those who did not survive the journey. A stunning piece of storytelling, this is a novel of unusual scope, bringing to life the endless cycle of illegal entry and deportation that defines life for a vulnerable population living on the margins of society. Khider’s unembellished account impresses greatly, as does the casualness with which he tells of both misery and miracles.

German original published by Edition Nautilus, Hamburg, under the title Der falsche Inder in 2010.