Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: Four Generations of My Family in Iraq

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9780007249329: Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: Four Generations of My Family in Iraq

A lyrical, haunting, multi-generational memoir of one family's tempestuous century in Iraq from 1900 to the present. The Chalabis are one of the oldest and most prominent families in Iraq. For centuries they have occupied positions of honour and responsibility, loyally serving first the Ottoman Empire and, later, the national government. In 'Late for Tea at the Deer Palace', Tamara Chalabi explores the dramatic story of her extraordinary family's history in this beautiful, passionate and troubled land. From the grand opulence of her great-grandfather's house and the birth of the modern state, through to the elegant Iraq of her grandmother Bibi, who lived the life of a queen in Baghdad, and finally to her own story, that of the ex-pat daughter of a family in exile, Chalabi takes us on an unforgettable and eye-opening journey. This is the story of a lost homeland, whose turbulent transformations over the twentieth century left gaping wounds at the hearts not only of the family it exiled, but also of the elegant, sophisticated world it once represented. When Tamara visited her once-beautiful ancestral land for the first time in 2003, she found a country she didn't recognize - and a nation on the brink of a terrifying and uncertain new beginning. Lyrical and unique, this exquisite multi-generational memoir brings together east and west, the poetic and the political as it brings to life a land of beauty and grace that has been all but lost behind recent headlines.

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The dramatic tale of one family's tempestuous century in Iraq from 1900 to the present. An exquisite multi-generational memoir, 'Late for Tea at the Deer Palace' tells the story of an extraordinary family's century in Iraq. It brings to life the fascinating history of a nation from its days as a province of the Ottoman Empire, through to European domination, independence, revolution, dictatorship and the wars that have seized the attention of the modern world. From the grand opulence of her great-grandfather's house in Ottoman Baghdad and her larger than life grandmother, Tamara Chalabi guides us through several generations until the moment when the country's order, to which her family belonged, comes crashing down. In 2003, she visits her ancestral home for the first time and finds a country sliding out of the tyrannical grip of Saddam's rule. She must find a way to reconcile the old and the new, a sense of alienation with a longing for a homeland. As she explores the nature of identity, memory and what it means to have inherited exile, the magic of this country and its people are brought to life. Bringing together east and west, the poetic and the political, Chalabi recreates an old world that has been lost behind recent headlines of war, occupation and suicide bombings.

Product Description:

“It’s an admirable endeavour to have Iraq addressed by someone who is in so many ways able to approach it from two worlds. . . . Tamara Chalabi has the stuff, in every sense, that is needful to undertake this.” —Christopher Hitchens

In the tradition of Jung Chang’s Wild Swans and Bhutto Benazir’s Reconciliation comes Tamara Chalabi’s unique memoir of returning to her family’s homeland, Iraq. In this epic story of one daughter’s journey through the annals of her family’s tumultuous history, Chalabi’s powerful voice and piercing vision illuminate her country and its people as never before.

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