The Iraqi Christ

A soldier with the ability to predict the future finds himself blackmailed by an insurgent into the ultimate act of terror…

Fleeing a robbery, a Baghdad shopkeeper falls into a deep hole, at the bottom of which sits a djinni and the corpse of a soldier from a completely different war…

From legends of the desert to horrors of the forest, Blasim’s stories blend the fantastic with the everyday, the surreal with the all-too-real. Taking his cues from Kafka, his prose shines a dazzling light into the dark absurdities of Iraq’s recent past and the torments of its countless refugees. The subject of this, his second collection, is primarily trauma and the curious strategies human beings adopt to process it (including, of course, fiction). The result is a masterclass in metaphor – a new kind of story-telling, forged in the crucible of war, and just as shocking.


UK Press

'Blasim's tone is a resilient blend of mordancy and broken lyricism.' - Intelligent Life

'It is not his identity but the quality of his writing that makes his voice striking. It is deeply troubling and complex, the metaphors arresting and violent.' - The Spectator

'Required reading for a real taste of life in Iraq.' - The National

'An arrestingly vivid picture of the privation and the terrors of life in Iraq.' - Herald Scotland

'A visceral collection with echoes of Gogol, Kafka and Greene, populated by the war-scarred, the exiled and the marginalised. Translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright and published by Manchester’s Comma Press (who are absolutely incredible), Blasim’s stories explore the soul weathered, often deranged, by waves of violence. The emotional intensity of stories such as The Iraqi Christ and Dear Beto is staggering. A true master of the short story and one of the most important books of 2014.'- Gary Perry, Assistant Head of Fiction, Foyles

Praise for Hassan:

'Perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive...' – The Guardian

'Bolaño-esque in its visceral exuberance, and also Borgesian in its gnomic complexity... a master of metaphor.' – The Guardian

'At first, you receive Blasim with the kind of shocked applause you’d award a fairly transgressive stand-up. You’re quite elated. Then you stop reading it at bedtime. At his best, Blasim produces a corrosive mixture of broken lyricism, bitter irony and hyper-realism which topples into the fantastic and the quotidian in the same reading moment.' – M John Harrison

‘Blasim deserves a wider audience, one ready to be shocked and awed by these pitch-black fairytales.’ - The National

American Press:

'His stories struck me as so different from anything else I had read, not only from that part of the world but from anywhere else.' - Feature in the Wall Street Journal

'Brilliant and disturbing... bitter, furious and unforgettable.' - Wall Street Journal

‘If a short story could break the heart of a rock, this might just be the one....’ - The New York Times

'The existence of this book is reason for hope, proof of the power of storytelling.' - The Boston Globe

‘Brutal, vulgar, imaginative, and unerringly captivating...A searing, original portrait of Iraq.’ - Publishers Weekly

‘Powerful, moving and deeply descriptive.’ - Kirkus Reviews

'Blunt and gruesome.' - The Huffington Post


WINNER of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, 2014

Foyles Staff Pick, Summer 2014

Rights Profile

Rights Available
World, many have been sold, please contact the publisher for more details.

Original Language

Samples Available
Full text available in English



Publication Date

April 2013


The Iraqi Christ on the Comma Press website