Book Launch and Conversation: Sinan Antoon’s The Book of Collateral Damage
Featuring: Ella Shohat, Sara Pursley, Patrick Deer, and Sinan Antoon
Wednesday 4 December 2019
The Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre, New York University
Antoon’s fourth novel follows Nameer, a young Iraqi scholar earning his doctorate at Harvard, who is hired by filmmakers to help document the devastation of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During the excursion, Nameer ventures to al-Mutanabbi street in Baghdad, famed for its bookshops, and encounters Wadood, an eccentric bookseller who is trying to catalogue everything destroyed by war, from objects, buildings, books and manuscripts, flora and fauna, to humans. Entrusted with the catalogue and obsessed with Wadood’s project, Nameer finds life in New York movingly intertwined with fragments from his homeland’s past and its present—destroyed letters, verses, epigraphs, and anecdotes—in this stylistically ambitious panorama of the wreckage of war and the power of memory.
Praise for The Book of Collateral Damage:
“Sinan Antoon is a master storyteller and The Book of Collateral Damage reaffirms his place amongst some of our very best writers. Vividly imagined and sensitively told, this is a tale of one man's exile and return, and all the distances traveled to find a semblance of home.” —Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion's Gaze
“A hallucinatory investigation into the territories of memory and tragedies of Iraq. A deep reflection on exile and the power of books.” —Mathias Enard, author of Compass
“An accounting of what Baghdad lost.” —NPR
This event is co-sponsored by The Humanities Initiative and The Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies.
The event will be followed by a reception and a book signing.