The current issue of the New Yorker contains an article on contemporary Arabic novels and features Mahmoud Saeed and his novel Saddam City.For all the horror it details, this is a startlingly warm and humane book. Saeed, despite the incitements of his subject, does not aspire to the Kafkaesque—Kafka, it must be admitted, is among the most impossible of authors to emulate, along with García Márquez—but maintains a specificity of place and history (this happened in Basra, that happened in Mosul) and of the individuals who inhabit them. Claudia Roth Pierpont
From Mike Zapata, fiction editor on issue 4, commenting on Saeed: I’m very happy to see him recognized nationally, as when I met him four years ago he was struggling to figure out how to make his work known here. A novel a year, regardless of his situation, struggling, working, in political asylum, forgotten, found. A real writer.
Saeed’s story Saddam and Khamini appeared in MAKE issue 4 – Sister Cities: The International Issue.
You can read it here in its entirety.