Zubaida's Window
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  • Hardcover Edition
  • ISBN: 978-1-55861-572-4
  • Publication Date: 06-01-2008
  • Page Count: 136
  • Categories: Fiction, Middle East

An Iraqi exile with a human rights background, IQBAL AL-QAZWINI has lived in Berlin since 1978. She is a noted freelance journalist for various Arab and German media; her articles have appeared in Asharq Al-Aswat, the most widely circulated Arabic daily, and Transnational Broadcasting Studies.

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Zubaida's Window

A Novel of Iraqi Exile
Iqbal Al-Qazwini

Translated by Azza El Kholy & Amira Nowaira. Afterword by Nadje Al-Ali.

In the first novel in English by an Iraqi to focus on the 2003 invasion, Iqbal Al-Qazwini masterfully describes the tortured psyche of a woman who fled Iraq but still longs for her homeland.

Like millions around the world, Iraqi exile Zubaida watches the invasion on her television. As she sits in her apartment in Berlin, the unreal and constantly flickering images of US forces closing in on Baghdad are her only connection to the war a world away. But unlike most viewers, she can remember the city of her childhood, where memories of her loving grandmother and of attending movies with her father mix with nightmarish images of hangings in Al-Tahrir Square. Struggling to deal with the horror on the television and the ghosts of her memory, Zubaida, in her grief, creates her own world, one in which she can almost go home.

Haunting and lyrical, Zubaida’s Window reveals the individual costs of war and the resilience of those who live through it.

"A strong, moving, and beautiful novel . . . that attempts to preserve [Iraq] by words . . . by the strength of a scream."

—Alia Mamdouh, Iraqi winner of the Naquib Mahfouz Award in Arabic Literature

"Zubaida’s Window is a compelling, difficult, and important novel. . . . [It] flows seamlessly between past and present, experienced and imagined. . . . A must read for anyone looking for a fresh perspective on the war in Iraq and its effects on the lives of Iraqis.”

Feminist Review

"Zubaida's Window is not simply about the physical and material realities and hardships related to living in a strange place away from home. Exile here also refers to a state of mind and being. . . . Iqbal Al-Qazwini manages to capture the sense of alienations and paralysis experienced by millions of Iraqis throughout the world who have not only found themselves forced to flee their homes, but have been watching the destruction of their country from afar and in great dispair."

—Nadje Al-Ali from the Afterword

"A powerful commentary, not only on war but also on the alienation of exile."


". . . the explosiveness of the past and present recollections that Zubaida experiences, closely connects to the explosiveness and tragedy of every event that has led Iraq to its current situation."

Three Percent

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