In this poignant first novel of memory, identity, and generational trauma, a child of political refugees tries to uncover the past his dying father kept secret, painting a powerful, layered portrait of Iraq from the 1950s to the 2000s.
As a young man in the early 1970s, Rami fled his home to escape Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. In France, he built a new life and had a family, working hard to become a successful immigrant. He barely speaks of his time over there, and his son, Euphrates, feels it like a wall between them. When the now elderly Rami is hospitalized with a fatal cancer, Euphrates sees his last chance to learn more about this enigmatic man, and himself.
Shifting between past and present, I Remember Fallujah brings to vivid life Rami’s coming-of-age in a land devastated by violent conflict. His memories of the city, which became a stronghold for Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, reveal the courageous acts of resistance, as well as complex loyalties, of left-wing Iraqis fighting against a brutal Arab nationalist movement. And where Rami’s amnesia has erased his exile, Euphrates seeks to fill in the gaps, with memories of his childhood in Paris, and visits to a changed Iraq that will unearth key facts.
Inspired by Feurat Alani’s own history, this unforgettable first novel is a moving tribute to the love between father and son that explores the nuances of the immigrant dream, and how we live with the family and country into which we were born.