When the Grey Beetles Took Over Baghdad

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9780807615829: When the Grey Beetles Took Over Baghdad
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Winner of the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize for Fiction.

In this vivid story of growing up in Baghdad, Mona Yahia tells a very personal story set against the backdrop of political upheaval and an increasingly fractured society. Lina clings to childhood and the security of her youth during the last peaceful period for the 2500-year-old Jewish community in Iraq. When that peace begins to crumble, the usual uncertainties of adolescence are augmented by growing fear following the increasingly anti-Semitic rhetoric from the government and outbreaks of violence which ultimately drive out nearly all of the remaining 150,000 Jews in Baghdad. As Lina struggles to understand these dark changes in Iraq, her first love is forced to flee, her father loses his job, her brother is arrested, and her young friend must search among the bodies of hanged Jews for his imprisoned father. As violent coups, arrests, and executions become everyday occurrences, Lina's family must leave the country they have called home for generations. In the dangerous flight to the border, they must evade the security police, traverse perilous mountains, and entrust their lives and safety to strangers. The book will resonate with audiences of all ages.

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About the Author:

Mona Yahia was born in Baghdad in 1954, and escaped with her family to Israel in 1970. She studied Psychology at Tel Aviv University and worked as a trainer in the School for Army Commanders. In 1985, she moved to Germany to study fine arts. This is her first novel, and has been published in Great Britain, Germany, and France.

From Publishers Weekly:

Born in Baghdad in 1954 and a refugee to Israel with her family in 1970, Yahia makes her impressive debut with this sharp recollection of the virulently anti-Semitic Iraq of the l960s through the eyes of a teenaged Jewish girl. Thirteen-year-old Lina identifies herself as Iraqi first, albeit a member of a minority, and is more curious than fearful about the word "persecution," often whispered in the Jewish community in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War. The definitions she learns won't be subtle: her older brother, Shaul, will be imprisoned for drawing a Star of David on a chalkboard; her father will lose his accounting job; and her swimming teacher and a schoolmate will be tortured and publicly executed on trumped-up charges by the new Baath regime. The only hope of evading the security police, who often drive gray Volkswagen Beetles, is to make the dangerous flight through Iran. As Lina's family gradually plans their escape, she experiences the whims and pangs of growing up, a first love, sibling rivalry. The novel's beginning feels choppy as the narrative jumps from scene to scene of Lina's early childhood, but the vividly realized detours enrich the reader's understanding of Lina's suffering at her country's betrayal. (Apr.)
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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781870015851: When the Grey Beetles Took Over Baghdad

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ISBN 10:  1870015851 ISBN 13:  9781870015851
Publisher: Peter Halban Publishers Ltd, 2003
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9781870015745: When The Grey Beetles Took Over Baghdad

Peter ..., 2000
Hardcover

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Book Description George Braziller, United States, 2007. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Winner of the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize for Fiction. In this vivid story of growing up in Baghdad, Mona Yahia tells a very personal story set against the backdrop of political upheaval and an increasingly fractured society. Lina clings to childhood and the security of her youth during the last peaceful period for the 2500-year-old Jewish community in Iraq. When that peace begins to crumble, the usual uncertainties of adolescence are augmented by growing fear following the increasingly anti-Semitic rhetoric from the government and outbreaks of violence which ultimately drive out nearly all of the remaining 150,000 Jews in Baghdad. As Lina struggles to understand these dark changes in Iraq, her first love is forced to flee, her father loses his job, her brother is arrested, and her young friend must search among the bodies of hanged Jews for his imprisoned father. As violent coups, arrests, and executions become everyday occurrences, Lina s family must leave the country they have called home for generations. In the dangerous flight to the border, they must evade the security police, traverse perilous mountains, and entrust their lives and safety to strangers. The book will resonate with audiences of all ages. Seller Inventory # BZV9780807615829

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