Hail Mary

Sinan Antoon

hail Mary

The events of the novel take place in a single day, with two contradictory visions of life from two characters from an Iraqi Christian family, drawn together by the situation in the country under the same roof in Baghdad. Youssef is an elderly man who is alone. He refuses to emigrate and leave the house he built, where he has lived for half a century. He still clings to hope and memories of a happy past. Maha is a young woman whose life has been torn apart by the sectarian violence. Her family has been made homeless and become separated from her, resulting in her living as a refugee in her own country, lodging in Youssef's house. With her husband she waits to emigrate from a country she feels does not want her.


Hope collides with destiny when an event occurs which changes the life of the two characters forever. The novel raises bold and difficult questions about the situation of minorities in Iraq, with one character searching for an Iraq which was, while the other attempts to escape from the Iraq of today.    


2013 Shortlist