East Winds, West Winds by Mahdi Issa Al-Saqr

Read for Whichbook.

The first half of the novel is written through the eyes of a bookish translator working in the camps of the oil wells in Iraq.  The second half, which I much prefered, switches perspective to the other side of the fence: the British managers and Iraqi engineers living in a 1950’s British world of cocktail parties and extramarital affairs.  The narrative sometimes slips distractingly from first person to second person, but it repays perseverance as the Iraqi desert looms beautifully against the stark hardships and conflicts within the camp.


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