Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Late For Tea At The Deer Palace, The Lost Dreams Of My Iraqi Family by Tamara Chalabi

Late For Tea At The Deer Palace is one of the most captivating books I have ever read. Rather than telling you what kind of a book it is, I 'll let you read part of the prologue Tamara Chalabi herself has written. 

"......It was 19 April 2003, ten days after the fall of Baghdad to the US led coalition forces, and the city, depleted and derelict,  was grappling with a new reality. The heat of the day was intolerable, and I could feel my very eyeballs become coated with perspiration, a strange and unwelcome sensation. This was my first ever visit to Baghdad,  My father's home, his parents' and grandparents' before him, and theoretically mine as well. I had arrived at the capital in a long car journey from the south in the company of my father, Ahmad Chalabi, a leading opposition figure to Saddam Hussein's fallen regime.

Everybody asks me about my father. He has been labelled a maverick, a charlatan, a genius. He has been named as the source of supposedly faulty intelligence that led America into the war in Iraq. He has been called a triple agent to the US, Iran and Israel. But this is my story. He has his own tale to tell, although I acknowledge that my father has played a pivotal role in shaping my relationship to his country, Iraq. As with everything with in the Middle East, nothing makes sense until you  you understand the past, and the past is never straightforward... .........."

This book painted a very vivid picture of Iraq in my head, an Iraq I never new, an Iraq with so long a history, so rich a culture, so diverse in ethnicity, and so aesthetic. I also learned how this great land of wonders was brought in to misery, hatred, and destruction by the worst curse that fallen upon the human race ever, power hungry politics. Anyone with an interest in history, particularly of the region that Iraq belongs to, will find this book very informative too. 
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