Friday, August 17, 2018

the last book I ever read (Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, excerpt three)

from Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (Translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright):

Hadi was zipping up his fly as he came toward the bench by the front window of the coffee shop. He sat down to resume his story, and Mahmoud, who was hoping to catch him out, was disappointed to find he hadn’t changed any of the details. Before going to the bathroom, he had paused at the point in the story when the rain stopped and he went out to the courtyard with the canvas sack. Looking up at the sky, he saw the clouds breaking up like wisps of cotton, as if all at once they had released their water and were now departing. Some of the secondhand furniture was sitting in rainwater, which would damage it, but Hadi wasn’t thinking about that. He went to the shed, which he had assembled out of scraps of furniture, iron bars, and sections of kitchen units he had leaned up against the piece of wall that still remained, and squatted down at one end. The rest of the shed was dominated by a massive corpse—the body of a naked man, with viscous liquids, light in color, oozing from parts of it. There was only a little blood—some small dried patches on the arms and legs, and some grazes and bruises around the shoulders and neck. It was hard to say what color the skin was—it didn’t have a uniform color. Hadi moved farther into the narrow space around the body and sat down close to the head. The area where the nose should have been was badly disfigured, as if a wild animal had bitten a chunk out of it. Hadi opened the canvas sack and took out the thing. In recent days he had spent hours looking for one like it, yet he was still uneasy handling it. It was a fresh nose, still coated in congealed, dark red blood. His hand trembling, he positioned it in the black hole in the corpse’s face. It was a perfect fit, as if the corpse had its own nose back.

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