Sunday, March 9, 2014

Late for Tea at the Deer Palace - Tamara Chalabi

This was another of my Borders Last Days books, which was languishing on my TBR Pile until I prioritized it for reading in the TBR Pile Challenge this year. I'm not sure why I put off reading it, since once I started, I had a very difficult time putting it down. The author skillfully tells the story of her family within the story of the modern nation of Iraq. What I knew about Iraq prior to reading this book couldn't have filled a thimble on a good day, but now I feel like I have more knowledge of the country's origin, history, politics, etc. - I'm a little less ignorant than I was before I read this fascinating memoir and biography.

Something interesting to me is how in every country there is at least one political group that seems to  want to mobilize people who have little power, often using fear of the new/different, and use these people to "overthrow" the government in one way or another - but then replace the previous regime with a repressive government that really isn't much different than what was overthrown. It's a lesson we'd all do well to study as it happens again and again - maybe we can figure out a way to combat it. The subtitle of this memoir is The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family and that sums things up nicely - the author's family went through a lot, although they have managed to retain their status as wealthy people, while the majority of people who find themselves in the midst of war and turmoil do not have options. In any case, I recommend this fascinating and well written book.

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