People of the Palms
Janan Jasim Halawi
People of the Palms holds a spotlight on the inhabitants of the palm groves and marshlands of Basra, Iraq. The book pulsates with stories of life and death. As Basra reels with destruction and death, the terrified Ramzi and Ahlam cut a path through the devastated city, fleeing from soldiers. Their story is just one amongst a collection of disparate tales about characters from Basra's underworld: Jodi, a worker in an old people's home, killed by the police for helping the mad Muhaidi; Johnny, the sea smuggler, forced to act as an informer for the police; Jawad, a communist, who kills the local Islamic leader, Jaafar, after he declares Communists to be apostates; Badea, an ordinary girl driven to prostitution by poverty and murdered, and Alawi, the rebellious loner who kills her murderer.