Hassan Blasim’s savagely comic stories of Iraq, The Madman of Freedom Square. It’s a short volume, 90-odd pages. At first you receive it 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 & hyper-realism which topples into the fantastic & the quotidian in the same reading moment. I can’t recommend highly enough “The Corpse Exhibition”, “The Market of Stories” or “The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes”.
In other news, Andrew McKie promises a meditation on the littoral, fuelled by The City & the City & with connections to his 2007 report on the Alexandria Quartet.