The Gardener of Baghdad by Ahmad Ardalan


Two people, one city, different times; connected by a memoir. Can love exist in a city destined for decades of misery?

A heartbreaking story of forbidden love set in Iraq 1958. An explosive time, mounting tension as Iraq’s unstable political, military, social and economic order is questionable. An unlikely love blossoms between Ali and Mary, their worlds clashing and contrasting, their hearts harmonious, a delicate match. The story is revealed slowly and with great affection as Adnan, a bookstore owner, in the present, accidentally stumbles upon the couples tragic love story.

The resentment and acceptance of forbidden love is clearly felt, the lengths people will take to squelch a relationship deemed intolerable is shocking. I asked myself if such a relationship would be more acceptable now than in the past, given times are rather questionable as well as turbulent. The love between Ali and Mary is evident, their strength and devotion is absolutely touching causing the reader to turn every page with great travail to learn of their outcome. Culture, religion, traditions, politics, ethnicity all explored, as backlash grasps this endearing couple. The story itself is stunning and brutal.

Ardalan translates his vision with such practiced and sentiment intent. His writing is dense, however, he needs to relax and let the words flow with less rigidity allowing his skill to effortless spill onto the pages. Editing and more character development will unleash the potential this novella possesses. A tender story of love and hope in a world of chaos.

Kindle Edition, 145 pages
Published July 29th 2014


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