Fiction in Translation
English edition  
288 pp.
15X23 cm
ISBN 9789774166495
Not for sale in North America


The Last of the Angels

An Iraqi Novel Fadhil al-Azzawi
Translated by William M. Hutchins

A magical, comic, and ultimately profound story of old Kirkuk

Set in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk during the 1950s, The Last of the Angels tells the slyly humorous tale of three strikingly different people in one small neighborhood. During a labor strike against the British-run Iraq Petroleum Company, Hameed Nylon becomes a labor organizer and later a revolutionary, like his hero, Mao Tse-Tung. His brother-in-law, the sheep butcher Khidir Musa, travels to the Soviet Union to find his long-lost brothers, and returns home to great acclaim (and personal fortune) in an airship. Meanwhile, a young boy named Burhan Abdullah discovers an old chest in the attic of his family’s house that lets him talk to angels. By turns satiric, picaresque, and apocalyptic, The Last of the Angels paints a loving, panoramic, and elegiac portrait of Kirkuk in the final years of Iraq’s monarchy. But as the grim reality of modern Iraqi history catches up with the novel’s events, we come to learn the depth and complexity of Hameed Nylon, Khidir Musa, and Burhan Abdullah, and al-Azzawi’s comic novel becomes a moving tale of growing up in a dangerous world.
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Fadhil al-Azzawi was born in Kirkuk, Iraq, in 1940. He holds a Ph.D. in cultural journalism from the University of Leipzig and is the author of several novels and collections of poetry. He is the author of Cell Block Five (AUC Press pbk, 2013) and The Traveler and the Innkeeper (AUC Press, 2011). He has lived in Germany since 1977. William M. Hutchins is the principal translator of Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy (AUC Press, 1989-92), and is the translator of works by a number of other Arab writers, including Tawfiq al-Hakim, Mohammed Khudayyir, and Ibrahim al-Koni. He was awarded the 2013 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of A Land without Jasmine by Wajdi al-Ahdal.

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“The Last of the Angels is a life experience. . . . The novel’s language is an unbroken flow that seduces you right up to the final page of this magnificent tale. And in telling the story, its details sparkle with every description, every sentence, and every page.”—al-Zaman (London), 2003//endoftext//endoftext

“André Malraux once said that there are books that belong to the common heritage of humanity. . . . Fadhil al-Azzawi’s The Last of the Angels belongs in that category.”—al-Muda (Damascus)//endoftext//endoftext

“The epic achievement of Fadhil al-Azzawi in his novel The Last of the Angels puts the Iraqi and Arabic novel in a world-class category.”—al-Thaqafa al-‘arabiya (Tripoli)//endoftext//endoftext"The Last of the Angels shows us the centuries old roots of Iraqi culture. Its kaleidoscope of elements echoes the richness and complexity of that society."—Colin Wilson, Socialist Review

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Also available by this author

Cell Block Five ISBN 9789774166075
Cell Block Five ISBN 9789774161421
The Traveler and the Innkeeper ISBN 9789774164620
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