Shahad Al Rawi
1991: Two young girls meet and become best friends in a Baghdad bomb shelter where they have taken refuge from Allied aerial attacks. They share their hopes and dreams, interwoven with fantasy and illusion. A stranger arrives from the mysterious future of the city bearing prophecies, causing families to flee the city en masse, leaving it empty. When a third girl joins them, the friends begin to write a secret history of their neighbourhood, to save it from oblivion. The novel follows the girls through childhood, adolescence and university, until the war and the fall of Baghdad, which triggers a new wave of departures from the capital.
Dar al-Hikma, London