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NABEEL'S SONG is an epic true story of one family's experience of life before, during and after the regime of Saddam Hussein. Nabeel Yasin had an ordinary childhood, in a middle-class neighbourhood in 1950s Baghdad. He showed an early gift for poetry and as a young man became famous for it. But by the end of the 1970s Saddam's rise to power was encroaching on his life, and that of his family. Nabeel's brothers were arrested and he himself was denounced as an enemy of the state and fled Iraq in 1980. NABEEL'S SONG tells his story, and that of the family that he left behind; his matriarch of a mother Sabria, his four brothers and their rebellion against Saddam's regime, and his two sisters - all ordinary people living in extraordinary and difficult times. This is a moving family story of exile and endurance. 'Jo Tatchell's moving narrative, from Nabeel's mouth, tells of endurance, literary resistance and the courage of a loving, close-knit family opporessed by tyranny and war' The Times
In this biography of the Iraqi poet Nabeel Yasin, freelance writer Tatchell offers a portrait of a courageous family, a devastating political regime and a writer's escape and exile. Before the Ba'athist "crackdown on writers, poets, and artists," Yasin had been "one of most celebrated poets"; in March 1976, however, he was officially declared an "Enemy of the State." Tatchell divides the book in two sections, tracing Yasin's life in Iraq from the 1950s to 1980 in the first and his exile in the second. Even as the Ba'athist regime impinges, through multiple arrests and torture, upon the Yasins, the first section is particularly rich in its evocation of family life and tradition. The stress and anxiety of exile occupy the second as Yasin with his wife and children seek a place to settle (Prague, Damascus, Budapest, Leipzig, among them) before landing in England in 1992. Straddling the imagined and the historical, Tatchell's novelized biography takes the reader inside the thoughts and reproduces the dialogue of a wide cast of characters. While this approach is usually enlightening and compelling, here it makes it difficult to distinguish the speculative from the factual. Given Yasin's status as a poet, the biography reveals little more about his poetry than names of his most famous works: "Brother Yasin" and "Brother Yasin Again."