At its core, Frankenstein in Baghdad is a novel about the personal and collective trauma of war and the many afterlives of violence. A reimagining of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this novel joins Hassan Blasim’s The Corpse Exhibition and Other Stories of Iraq and The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon as the most recent additions to the body of Iraqi literature depicting the Iraq War through a supernatural lens. Winner of the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Ahmed Saadawi’s darkly comic fable is a fusion of the surreal, the gothic and bleak reality.
The novel follows Hadi, a junk dealer, as he stitches together the fragmented remains of victims killed in Baghdad’s car bombings to create a complete corpse that might ‘be respected like other dead people and given a proper burial’. After a hotel guard is killed in a truck bombing,